Reporting ElectionsRethinking the Logic of Campaign Coverage
Reporting Elections
Rethinking the Logic of Campaign Coverage

How elections are reported has important implications for the health of democracy and informed citizenship. But how informative are the news media during campaigns? What kind of logic do they follow? How well do they serve citizens?

Based on original research as well as the most comprehensive assessment of election studies to date, Cushion and Thomas examine how campaigns are reported in many advanced Western democracies. In doing so, they engage with debates about the mediatization of politics, media systems, information environments, media ownership, regulation, political news, horserace journalism, objectivity, impartiality, agenda-setting, and the relationship between media and democracy more generally.

Focusing on the most recent US and UK election campaigns, they consider how the logic of election coverage could be rethought in ways that better serve the democratic needs of citizens. Above all, they argue that election reporting should be driven by a public logic, where the agenda of voters takes centre stage in the campaign and the policies of respective political parties receive more airtime and independent scrutiny.

The book is essential reading for scholars and students in political communication and journalism studies, political science, media and communication studies.

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  • March 2018
  • 224 pages
  • 138 x 216 mm / 5 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $64.95
  • 9781509517503
  • Paperback $22.95
  • 9781509517510
  • Open eBook $22.95
  • 9781509517541
Table of Contents
List of Tables and Figures
Introduction: Studying Elections
Chapter One: Setting the Campaign Agenda
Chapter Two: Reporting Election Campaigns
Chapter Three: Making Sense of Horserace Reporting
Chapter Four: Regulating Balance and Impartiality
Chapter Five: The Trumpification of Election News
Conclusion: Rethinking Election Reporting
About the Author

Stephen Cushion is Reader at the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University.

Richard Thomas is Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Swansea University.

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"Thoroughly researched and well written, this is a major addition to the agenda-setting library, a nuanced, empirically grounded presentation of the key elements that define the political, media and public agendas during elections. For journalists, citizens and political communication practitioners, Reporting Elections is a comprehensive handbook for understanding elections and improving the electoral process. For scholars, it is an invaluable guide to gaps in our knowledge, identifying productive research areas for further explicating the links among the political, media and public agendas."
Maxwell McCombs, University of Texas at Austin

"Cushion and Thomas' cross-national treatment of 'air wars' during election campaigns provides lots of meat for scholars and students to absorb and ponder - about influences on their coverage, political and media actors' strategies and logics, explanatory concepts, available data sets and literature references, and issues for democracy, including 'post-truth politics'."
Jay Blumler, University of Leeds

"This book provides an excellent and comprehensive analysis of more than 100 national and comparative studies of election news reporting. It also makes a significant original contribution in its own right, drawing on the authors' extensive empirical work in this area. Through the detail of their analysis, Stephen Cushion and Richard Thomas demonstrate the enduring electoral significance of mainstream news media, particularly broadcasting, and highlight troubling questions about the dynamics that drive the formation of contemporary election-reporting. This clear-sighted interrogation of the democratic performance of news organisations across several national and electoral contexts is of enormous value."
David Deacon, Professor of Communication and Media Analysis, Centre for Research in Communication and Culture, Loughborough University
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