Fri. 3 August 2018, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
MECO Seminar Room S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney
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, Stephen Cushion’s talk will examine how campaigns are reported in many advanced Western democracies. Focusing on the most recent US and UK election campaigns, he consider how the logic of election coverage could be rethought in ways that better serve the democratic needs of citizens.
During the 2017 UK election campaign, his study found broadcasters drew heavily on journalistic judgements about public opinion in vox pops and live two-ways. In doing so, the portrayal of citizens in television news was largely shaped by a relatively narrow set of assumptions made by political journalists about the public’s ideological views rather than conveying a more representative picture of public opinion. As a consequence, at times voters were portrayed as favouring more right- then left-wing policies despite evidence to the contrary.
Cushion thus argues 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.
Dr Stephen Cushion is a Reader at Cardiff University School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies. He has also published over 50 journal articles and book chapters on issues related to news, politics and journalism. He is on the editorial board of several leading academic journals, including Journalism Studies, Journalism Practice, Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, Journalism Education and Journal of Applied Journalism and Media. He has written three sole authored books, News and Poitics: The Rise of Live and interpretive Journalism, The Democratic Value of News: Why Public Service Media Matter(2012, Palgrave) and Television Journalism (2012, Sage) and one co-authored book, Reporting Elections: Rethinking the Logic of Campaign Coverage (2018, Polity Press, with Richard Thomas).