Election Coverage Offers Lessons

By Mohl, Jeffrey D. | The Quill, October/November 2000 | Go to article overview

Election Coverage Offers Lessons


Mohl, Jeffrey D., The Quill


Critiques that journalists hear over election coverage also can be applied to everyday reporting.

A presidential election is one of the greatest tests the American news media can endure. It is an event that directly affects nearly everyone in the country, and the performance of the national media has a significant influence over its outcome. Nearly everything that citizens know about the candidates from knowledge of their proposals to a feeling for their personality - comes from the media.

Because the stakes are so high, so are the dangers. In a national election, there are countless agendas to take into consideration: What image does the candidate want to project? What interests are behind that image? What weaknesses are being downplayed or ignored? When journalists follow a candidate's run for the White House, they are reporting for such a broad-based and diverse audience that it often can be difficult to represent all the interests. But those journalists have to do it.

The amount of spin and planned manipulation that has become a standard part of campaigning makes the journalists' job that much more difficult. On Page 17, Jena Heath gives us a glimpse into life on the campaign trail. This year is her first time covering a presidential election, and she's following Texas Gov. George W. Bush on his campaign tour.

Of the two presidential candidates, Bush has been called the more mediasavvy. As the story in this issue shows, he does a good job of getting personal with the media that cover him. His nicknames, inside jokes and charming chit-chat with reporters can go a long way in bringing out his more human side - a side that he hopes will be reflected in the coverage he receives.

Vice President Al Gore is known for an approach that seems to be just the opposite. He goes out of his way to carefully plan and script the coverage he receives, and he often opts for a more stiff and prepared image over a personal, human one.

Is it possible to give equal and fair coverage to these two candidates? Journalists that cover these issues have to see past the hype, see past the artificial friendliness, see past the charm. They have to take in the spin offered by both sides and try to decide what is truly important because the public relies on them for information.

And, as Heath's story shows, a certain pack mentality is inherent in political coverage. A special kind of camaraderie develops among the reporters who spend countless hours and days together on long bus trips. When the people who head up the coverage share quotes, share tips, and share ideas, what happens to originality in their coverage? It becomes even more of a challenge to look beyond the prepared statements and events and find the real stories - the stories that are of interest to the real public - that lie beneath. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Election Coverage Offers Lessons
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.