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
Congress and Journalism
As the “People's Branch,” and primary policy-making body for the United States, Congress plays a central role in the American political system, and thus congressional journalism plays a vital role in informing the people about politics and policy so they in turn can better perform their jobs as citizens. Yet Congress is a paradoxical institution, and in many ways congressional journal-ism—indeed, the relationship between Congress and the media generally—is also paradoxical. Congress is the most accessible, decentralized, and dynamic branch of government, and likewise the most democratic. These features make it relatively easy for reporters to get information, build stories, and document and comment on the activities that make up the legislative process. Members of Congress are usually eager to speak to reporters so as to gain coverage and get their message, name, and image before the public. But Congress is also the most fractious, complicated, rule-bound, and incomprehensible of ...