Sunday, November 22, 2015

Book Review - Media: From News Coverage to Political Advertising (Inside Elections Series)


Media: From News Coverage to Political Advertising (Inside Elections Series)

By: Sandy Donovan
Publisher: Lerner Publications
Publication Date: August 2015
ISBN: 978-1467779098
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: November 19, 2015

If politics has become a passion or you think you might be interested in learning more about it, you're probably considering heading to a media source for more information. Media is "anything that delivers information" and there's plenty of it out there to check! Mass media, which includes "television, printed materials (such as magazines and newspapers), Internet resources (such as blogs, podcasts, and social media)" as well as radio broadcasts are most likely where you'll turn to read, listen, and learn about politics.

Public, commercial, and private media resources operate in different ways. For-profit and not-for-profit are much different critters and will obviously influence the way information is presented. You'll learn about these media sources, how they work, and decide where you want to get your information from. For example, if you listen to National Public Radio (NPR), you'll need to know it’s a not-for-profit media source. What these media resources cover depends on their audience. All of them want large audiences "which lead to bigger profits," a no-brainier fact.

Election coverage Involves collecting information from a variety of sources from interviews to "in-depth research." Next up comes the presentation process. Perhaps you never stopped to think about it, but "the news media can package that information for audiences in several different ways from ultra-brief to extremely in-depth." Ever heard of a sound bite? Once you learn what they are, you could have a lot of fun searching them out on YouTube.

After you've got the basics out of the way, you'll find out just how the media keeps us all informed. One thing for certain is that the "Internet has created more and more ways for people to engage with one another and candidates." You learn about invented information, bias, the role of social media, attack ads, the big business aspect of political ads, fundraising, the importance of the candidate images, and many more interesting things about media from "news coverage to political advertising!" I was quite impressed with how well-written and presented the information in this book was. Each chapter presents information in such a way that it not only presents information, but also subtly encourages the reader to think about the media presentation of the election process. There are numerous informative sidebars that add additional information to the text. For example, one examines the pros and cons of attack ads. In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, source notes, a selected bibliography, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.

Quill says: This is an excellent resource for students who want to learn more about the role of media in our election process.