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Turning a Blind Eye: Why Reporters Ignore Third-Party Candidates
Unformatted Document Text:  Turning a Blind Eye: Why Reporters Ignore Third-Party Candidates they perceive to generate the most public interest. However, this finding requires additional research to fully understand. It may be true, as the comments indicate, that news organizations refrain from covering third-party candidates partially because they do not have the money or space to do so. What is less clear from the interviews is exactly how these economic coverage decisions are made in the newsroom—or, if you will, the boardroom. In addition, the paradigm that now governs how third-party candidates are covered could soon become—if it hasn’t already—an artifact of the old print medium. Future research should look at how news organizations use the Internet to cover gubernatorial campaigns and whether electronic news coverage of third parties is dramatically different from what has traditionally appeared on the printed page. Reporter’s criteria According to the interviews with the eight reporters from California and Wisconsin, third-party candidates also have trouble getting the press’s attention because they cannot meet the five criteria that are particularly salient with political journalists when making coverage decisions. These criteria include the following: (1) is the candidate generating strong public interest, either in the polls or at public events, to make them a viable contender who can impact the race; (2) is the candidate raising important issues that are resonating strongly with the public; (3) does the candidate have strong name recognition or public prestige; (4) is the candidate campaigning seriously and actually trying to win; and (5) has the candidate raised substantial funds to compete effectively. All eight reporters mentioned at least one of these criteria (and usually more) during the interviews. 19

Authors: Kirch, John.
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Turning a Blind Eye: Why Reporters Ignore Third-Party Candidates
they perceive to generate the most public interest.  However, this finding requires 
additional research to fully understand.  It may be true, as the comments indicate, that 
news organizations refrain from covering third-party candidates partially because they do
not have the money or space to do so.  What is less clear from the interviews is exactly 
how these economic coverage decisions are made in the newsroom—or, if you will, the 
boardroom.  In addition, the paradigm that now governs how third-party candidates are 
covered could soon become—if it hasn’t already—an artifact of the old print medium. 
Future research should look at how news organizations use the Internet to cover 
gubernatorial campaigns and whether electronic news coverage of third parties is 
dramatically different from what has traditionally appeared on the printed page.
Reporter’s criteria
According to the interviews with the eight reporters from California and 
Wisconsin, third-party candidates also have trouble getting the press’s attention because 
they cannot meet the five criteria that are particularly salient with political journalists 
when making coverage decisions.  These criteria include the following: (1) is the 
candidate generating strong public interest, either in the polls or at public events, to make 
them a viable contender who can impact the race; (2) is the candidate raising important 
issues that are resonating strongly with the public; (3) does the candidate have strong 
name recognition or public prestige; (4) is the candidate campaigning seriously and 
actually trying to win; and (5) has the candidate raised substantial funds to compete 
effectively.  All eight reporters mentioned at least one of these criteria (and usually more) 
during the interviews.

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