Hot Topic - Media and Election Campaigns
That the news media rides on the coat-tails of startling headlines and sound bites is far from a revelation. Social media throws little snippets of color onto a revolving pallet, often revolting. Managing all this, for one purpose or another, occupies the most sacred of democratic processes, elections. Facts are transient, spin normal. To deny, disclaim, has become high art.
Televised political debates have become a regular and noteworthy application of democratic action. Since US presidential candidates Richard Nixon and John Kennedy appeared live on TV in 1960, the formula has been adopted in and adapted for national audiences almost everywhere. TV debates are much loved by political journalists Ė and their editors Ė hoping for a headline-making line.
Around election time every politician squirms a bit. Campaigns are media events, messages of all sorts flying to and fro, crafted carefully by dedicated wordsmiths. Out of their control are the new media vehicles of disruption. It would seem, the little Twitter bird can turn even the most steely politicians to jello.
More and more, elections are being monitored by international organizations for more than polling practices. Campaigns and media coverage is under scrutiny. As new media technology takes an increasingly important role in political campaigns election observers must look beyond traditional messages.
Elections are great democratic exercises. The people speak. Campaigns, though, are for candidates to speak and speak and speak. Mediaís role in it all has never been more apparent.
A new election cycle is upon us, longer it seems and certainly more costly each year. The drama plays well on television, even with the rise of new media, as candidates and supporters carefully craft their messages. Covering these major events gives an edge to broadcasters, too.
Time and again media policies become election issues. Whether itís the status of public broadcasting, subsidies affecting publishers or the role of regulators politicians take positions in line with either ideology or expedience. Other issues, in this era of austerity, may make for better campaign news but politicians increasingly see media policies as ground to stake out.
Thereís a lot of money in politics. As political stakes rise more money pours into the election process. For media companies, itís just another revenue stream but one very lucrative.
The Campaign Is On - Elections and Media
Elections campaigns are big media events. Candidates and issues are presented, analyzed and criticized in broadcast and print. Media is now more of a participant in elections than ever. This ftm Knowledge file reports on news coverage, advertising, endorsements and their effect on democracy at work. 53 pages. PDF (April 2010)
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State Aid - Media Rules – new
National authorities have at their disposal a variety of economic measures to stimulate, develop and improve competitive market sectors. Sometimes they miss the big picture or have special circumstances. Within the European Union an executive branch of the European Commission stands ready to clarify the rules of each and every game. State Aid rules are developing as the playing field gets bigger. 35 pages, PDF (September 2016)
Social Media Matures (...believe it or not...)
Hundreds of millions use social media, billions even. It has spawned revolutions, excited investors and confounded traditional media. With all that attention a business model remains unclear or it's simply so different many can't see it. What is clear is that there's no turning back. 114 pages, PDF (July 2016)
Investigative reporters have a storied honor among journalists. Praise is less forthcoming from those with secrets, often ready to use all possible means - legal and otherwise - to avoid detection. New tools are emerging to shed light and tell all. This ftm Knowledge file explores methods, old and new, and the forces prefering darkness. 54 pages PDF (May 2016)
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