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Political journalism is a broad branch of journalism that includes coverage of all aspects of politics and political science, although the term usually refers specifically to coverage of civil governments and political power.
Political journalism aims to provide voters with the information to formulate their own opinion and participate in community, local or national matters that will affect them. According to Edward Morrissey in an opinion article from theweek.com, political journalism frequently includes opinion journalism, as current political events can be biased in their reporting. The information provided includes facts, its perspective is subjective and leans towards one viewpoint.
Brendan Nyhan and John Sides argue that "Journalists who report on politics are frequently unfamiliar with political science research or question its relevance to their work". Journalists covering politics who are unfamiliar with information that would provide context to their stories can enable the story to take a different spin on what is being reported.
Political journalism is provided through different mediums, in print, broadcast, or online reporting. Digital media use has increased and it provides instant coverage of campaign, politics, event news and an accessible platform for the candidate. Media outlets known for their political journalism like The New York Times and the Washington Post, have increased their use of this medium as well. Printed, online, and broadcast political humor presented as entertainment has been used to provide updates on aspects of government status, political news, campaign, and election updates. According to Geoffrey Baym, the information provided may not be considered "fake news" but the lines between entertainment and factual news may seem blurred or biased while providing political updates. This type of journalism is analyzed, interpreted, and discussed by news media pundits and editorialists. It can lack objectivity which can prevent the accuracy of the presented information. The reporting of news with a bias view point can also take away the audience's ability to form their own opinion or beliefs of what has been reported. This type of reporting is subjective with a possible social or political purpose.
- Election journalism or electoral journalism is a subgenre of political journalism which focuses upon and analyzes developments related to an approximate election and political campaigns. This type of journalism provides information to the electorate that can educate and help form opinion that empowers a specific vote. This subgenre, like data journalism, makes use of numerical data, such as statistics, polls and historic data in regards to a candidate's chance of success for office, or a party's change in size in a legislature. It provides knowledge that may make the presented news hold more relevance. Information added to the reports are of campaign statuses and political events. A politician's strategy can be exaggerated or provided without context or historical perspective. Trends on each party candidate are reported and at times compared to previous party candidates. The news on the status of the elections, like other political reporting's, are provided in different mediums. The election report coverage has taken full advantage of the digital era in providing instant access to news.
- Defense journalism or military journalism is a subgenre which focuses upon the current status of a nation's military, intelligence and other defense-related faculties. Interest in defense journalism tends to increase during times of violent conflict, with military leaders being the primary actors. During the course of military journalism, news reporters are sometimes assigned to military units to report news taking place in areas of conflict. The term embedded journalism was used when the media was involved in the reporting of the war in Iraq. Embedded journalism can also be biased because it is one sided. Information reported has been collected from the area the journalist has been stationed with the possibility to lean towards the agenda of the group they have been assigned to. This subgenre of political journalism is also applied to media coming from journalists embedded in a particular campaign or candidate. Like military assignments, reports can be influenced by the message the campaign or candidate is trying to bring across.
- Morrissey, Edward (18 October 2016). "The election is not rigged against Trump. But the media is biased against the GOP". the week.com.
- Nyhan, Brendan; Sides, John (2011). "How Political Science can help journalism (and still let journalists be journalists)" (PDF). The Forum. 9 (1). doi:10.2202/1540-8884.1426. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
- Baym, Geoffrey (2005). "The Daily Show: Discursive Integration and the Reinvention of Political Journalism". Political Journalism Journal: 259–276.
- Bravo, Jorge (May 2010). "Towards an electoral journalism". Mundo Electoral - Electoral World. 3 (8). Archived from the original on 2 April 2012.
- Nyhan, Brendan; Sides, John (2011). "How Political Science can help Journalism (and still let journalists be journalists)". The Forum. 9 (1).
- Piechota, Grazyna (2011). "Media in Election Process". Communication Today.
- Fahey, Shahira; Johnson, Thomas J. (2005). ""HOW WE PERFORMED": EMBEDDED JOURNALISTS ATTITUDES AND PERCEPTIONS TOWARDS COVERING THE IRAQ WAR"". Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly: 301–317.
- Ignatius, David (2 May 2010). "The dangers of embedded journalism, in war and politics". Washington Post.