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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 Methodology In-depth interviews were conducted with eight reporters at regional newspapers who covered the 2002 gubernatorial campaigns in California and Wisconsin, both of which featured third-party candidates who received at least 5 percent of the vote. The California race involved Democrat Gray Davis, who won with 47.3 percent of the vote, Republican Bill Simon, with 42.4 percent, and Green Peter Camejo with 5.3 percent. In Wisconsin, Democrat Jim Doyle finished first with 45 percent of the vote followed by Republican Scott McCallum at 41 percent and Libertarian Ed Thompson with 10 percent. The five California and three Wisconsin reporters were interviewed between June 24 and July 11, 2007. All but one of those interviews were conducted in person, with the eighth interview done via e-mail. The in-person interviews lasted 60 to 90 minutes and were built around three preliminary themes: campaigns, third-party candidates, and things that influence coverage. The interviews followed a somewhat structured approach, with major questions and probes written in advance. All of the reporters agreed to be digitally recorded, and all agreed to let the investigator use their names in the study. (See Table 1 for the list of reporters interviewed.) Written transcripts of the interviews were produced and analyzed. In the initial stage of the analysis, the investigator read all eight answers to the same question, making note of language use and themes discussed by the reporter. The investigator was able to develop broad categories for each of the themes to capture the differences and similarities in how reporters addressed the same issue. Key quotations that effectively summarized the dominant viewpoints expressed in the text were highlighted as were minority viewpoints provided by only one or two reporters. When this was completed, key 7

Authors: Kirch, John.
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Turning a Blind Eye: Why Reporters Ignore Third-Party Candidates
Methodology
In-depth interviews were conducted with eight reporters at regional newspapers 
who covered the 2002 gubernatorial campaigns in California and Wisconsin, both of 
which featured third-party candidates who received at least 5 percent of the vote.  The 
California race involved Democrat Gray Davis, who won with 47.3 percent of the vote, 
Republican Bill Simon, with 42.4 percent, and Green Peter Camejo with 5.3 percent.  In 
Wisconsin, Democrat Jim Doyle finished first with 45 percent of the vote followed by 
Republican Scott McCallum at 41 percent and Libertarian Ed Thompson with 10 percent.
The five California and three Wisconsin reporters were interviewed between June 
24 and July 11, 2007.  All but one of those interviews were conducted in person, with the 
eighth interview done via e-mail.  The in-person interviews lasted 60 to 90 minutes and 
were built around three preliminary themes: campaigns, third-party candidates, and things 
that influence coverage.  The interviews followed a somewhat structured approach, with 
major questions and probes written in advance.  All of the reporters agreed to be digitally 
recorded, and all agreed to let the investigator use their names in the study.  (See Table 1 
for the list of reporters interviewed.)  
Written transcripts of the interviews were produced and analyzed.  In the initial 
stage of the analysis, the investigator read all eight answers to the same question, making 
note of language use and themes discussed by the reporter.  The investigator was able to 
develop broad categories for each of the themes to capture the differences and similarities 
in how reporters addressed the same issue.  Key quotations that effectively summarized 
the dominant viewpoints expressed in the text were highlighted as were minority 
viewpoints provided by only one or two reporters.  When this was completed, key 
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