Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2009

Capstone Advisor

Gustav Niebuhr

Honors Reader

Grant Reeher

Capstone Major

Magazine, Newspaper, and Online Journalism

Capstone College

Public Communications

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories


Subject Categories

Journalism Studies | Other Communication


With the increased use of new media in political elections, I set out to answer two important questions: how does new media affect the relationship among candidates, journalists, and citizens during elections and how will traditional media adapt to the new technology? Since this topic is evolving, I read blogs and news articles during the 2008 presidential election and reflected on past elections to discover key differences.

I found that four key distinctions pertaining to new media that made the 2008 election different than previous ones. First was the creation of a virtual town hall, which was illustrated through public participation, such as the YouTube debates. Second was evolution of blogs from a PR tool to a forum for supporters. Third was explosion of social networking sites, such as MySpace and Facebook that enabled candidates and journalists to stay connected with citizens. Finally, there was the increased impact of participatory journalism sites like The Huffington Post’s OffTheBus and CNN’s I-Report.

The conclusion I drew from these four developments is that new media has changed the way campaigns are run by candidates, covered by the press, and engaged by the public. Most importantly, the average citizen has been empowered through the technology as never before. Instead of being passive observers in politics and the press, citizens can now actively participate by communicating with candidates and journalists.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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