The New Zealand Print Media and the 2004-2007 Local Elections: A Case Study
Voters gain their information from news media, and in particular from print media, about politicians. More importantly, voters develop their understanding of political processes based on what they read. In this paper, I examine the print media coverage of the campaign introducing new electoral system Single Transferable Vote (STV) in the New Zealand Local Body Elections 2004 and 2007 compared with the campaign introducing Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) electoral system in the 1996 national election. I focus particularly on the coverage of the alternative electoral system, STV, by two newspapers – the Dominion Post and the Otago Daily Times from the perspective of type, nature, and number of the articles published and the attitudes toward encouraging participation and introducing new electoral system [STV]. The study shows that both newspapers offered a significantly poorer coverage of the 2004 and 2007 local elections compared to the campaign in 1996 national election. This also might lead to the prediction of one of the reason decreasing or increasing voter turnout.
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