Online platforms change the way the media makes and communicates news and how citizens access it. The ‘mainstream’ media, however, still reports and explains politics. Having migrated online, television and newspapers, if supplemented by newer forms of communications, continue to be the principle way politicians speak with the public and the means by which electioneering takes place. Traditional reportage and commentary (now reported in non-traditional fashion) thus continues to have a key role in creating a space for politics. Often, however, the news media is the space within which politics takes place. Especially when, being a watchdog, charged with holding politicians accountable, the news media is a political actor in its own right. Because it participates in the politics it reports, not merely spectating them, the news media remains for politicians both obstacle and resource. It continues to influence the ways in which ‘they’ (and ‘we’ citizens) ‘do’ politics. Age old questions of bias and partisanship, patterns of ownership, especially for newspapers, continue to attract attention, but the online format of the modern news media, the means by which it enacts its traditional functions, prompts further consideration of its role in contemporary politics. Particularly so, when the ‘print’ and broadcast news increasingly form part of the same 24/7 news culture reflecting the speeding up of the reporting of news at a time when the notion of ‘newsworthy- ness’ continues to be challenged and reconstructed.
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