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
Lynda Lee Kaid & David L. Painter
Election coverage refers to news media reports about candidates, parties, voters, and issues defining the selection of government representatives or referenda. While regular, competitive elections are considered a hallmark of democracy, they depend upon the voters' ability to be informed accurately and thoroughly in making their decisions. News coverage is one of the most important ways citizens gain such knowledge, and a free news media system is considered an essential requirement of a representative democracy. As the number and type of news media have expanded over time, contemporary election coverage has come to embody the treatment of the electoral process by the printed press, radio, television (including cable), and the Internet. From the colonial period through 1824, election campaigns in the United States were different from their current operation in U.S. civil society. Voting itself was limited to a select group of the male population, and newspapers reported candidate announcements, ...