Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Albert L. May
American political reporters strive to keep politicians honest, to serve as proxies for the public, and to inform citizens so that they can make better political choices. Many political reporters think of themselves as an independent and vital “Fourth Estate,” which operates as a check on political power. The reasons journalists pursue politics as a specialty are as varied as their backgrounds. Some are attracted by the rich narratives of elections and struggles for power; others relish the role of watchdogs or referees in the political game. Some are drawn by the policy debate to explain the promises and positions of politicians. Others seek to rub shoulders with the powerful or have an impulse to reform a system they see tilted to the privileged. And, at various historical points, political journalists have been partisans and ideologues. Regardless of their motives, the group of journalists specializing in politics has played a ...