Kathleen Cross, 604.251.7697; email@example.com
That's what SFU communication PhD student Kathleen Cross
found after taking a fine-tooth comb to 28 days of television newscasts during BC's 2001 provincial election coverage.Her
analysis showed only one-quarter of all stories focused on election issues.
studied news broadcasts on four television stations (CBC and what were then VTV, BCTV and Global TV) and evaluated stories for their campaign or issue focus."It seems there is more attention given to the horse race rather than the issues of the day," notes Cross
, who defended her
thesis, called Elections Without Politics, in December, in the midst of the current federal campaign.Cross, who also teaches political communication at SFU, found while news anchors asked mainly campaign-related questions of party leaders in feature interviews, voters were more likely to ask issue-related questions of leaders, when given the opportunity.
"In some ways it's not surprising, TV is about entertainment," says Cross
."But if you consider that the majority of voters get their information from television, and that more voters are making their decisions during the campaigns, you realize that the impact of media coverage can be significant."
dissertation behind her
, an admitted political junkie, will focus on the remaining stretch of the federal election and how its coverage may impact the Jan. 23 vote.