Covering Elections Guide

I offer this guide to political coverage that leads to a more informed electorate, disempowers bad actors in the system, and fuels trust of professional journalism within our audience. Research shows that reform can’t be incremental, as the current customs in political coverage are causing harm. We need to interrogate our choices and make radical change, when necessary, to not just stop causing injury but become a useful and positive force in American democracy.

Here’s the good news: research shows that making these changes is both possible and likely to have a positive effect on our nation. We can move the needle. Scientists at the University of Florida analyzed coverage of the 2016 and 2020 elections and concluded that “journalists have the power to change the tone of the 2024 presidential campaign, as our findings revealed that media coverage shaped campaign communication as much as campaigns influenced media coverage.” 

We can do this. And we must.