alexa Consumer Demand for Election News: The Horserace Sells
Social & Political Sciences

Social & Political Sciences

Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

Author(s): Shanto Iyengar, Helmut Norpoth, Kyu S Hahn

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Reports on the state of the horserace and analysis of the candidates' strategies are pervasive themes in news coverage of campaigns. Various explanations have been suggested for the dominance of strategy-oriented news over hard news. The most frequently identified factors are the length of the modern campaign, the built-in conflict between journalists and campaign operatives, and the pressures of the marketplace. This article provides a test of the market hypothesis. Given access to a wide variety of news reports about the presidential campaign during the weeks immediately preceding the 2000 election, we find that voters were drawn to reports on the horserace and strategy. Strategy reports proved especially popular among readers with higher levels of political engagement. In closing, we consider what journalists might do to make stories about the issues more relevant and marketable.

This article was published in The Journal of Politics and referenced in Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

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