My first assignment this week was to monitor the election coverage for the past three days using a media source of my choosing. Our professor explained to us the various roles the media fulfills based on Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Paul Waldman’s book “The Press Effect.” From there we were instructed to see if we, ourselves, could find these roles prominent in the media source we had chosen.
From monitoring my media choice I have come to the conclusion that I believe The Oregonian did an alright job of covering the election coverage over the past three days; however, I believe that there is most definitely room for improvement.
After monitoring the highly respectable Oregonian, I have come to the conclusion that many of the stories being reported about the upcoming election seem to be more based on juicy gossip details then actual important facts and stories. Upon simply scrolling down the list of stories to chose from I came across 3 out of 5 that read “Palin messes up again,” or “Good job Palin.” In total, I read about 10 different articles in the past three days and more then half of them were concentrated around the “press as storyteller” role. These articles focused mainly on picking negative facts that were based on whatever story they wanted to tell. Facts were chosen that reflected mainly on Sarah Palin’s personal life and the drama involved in it. The majority of the stories didn’t even talk about what she was doing positively with her campaign.
The most important role for a journalist to cover is the “press as a custodian” role. The reporters and newspaper need to be helping there readers make sense of what all the political terms are, what the true and false facts are and what each candidate political arguments are which is described by Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Paul Waldman. It’s up to the reporters to educate their audience on what is going on in the political world in terms that they can relate to. Instead of focusing mainly on the personal lives of the candidates and what drama they are getting themselves into, people should know what each stand for so they can make an informed decision about who to vote for and who they want to stand behind.
The “press as a custodian” role should be included more in the Oregonian because as someone who is actively involved with the voting process and who wants to learn as much as possible about both candidates, I want to hear about what is being done with both campaigns and not what happens behind closed doors. I mean yes, everyone enjoys some gossip here and there but when it threatens to take over most of the media coverage out there it has to stop.