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Journo episode 8: Why political journalists get elections wrong

In the final episode of season one, host Nick Bryant considers whether political coverage is broken

Image: Gokarna Avachat

Image: Gokarna Avachat

Covering the cut and thrust of politics is one of the most thrilling jobs in journalism. But many political journalists have failed to read their nations’ mood ahead of major elections.

Brexit. Trump. The Coalition’s win in 2019. All resulted in plenty of soul-searching from political journalists.

But why aren’t reporters clued in to what voters are thinking? What if it’s more than just faulty polling? What if it’s a basic failure to connect?

Has the excitement of the spill and the race to be first with a scoop seduced political reporters, dragging them away from the real work of covering issues that matter to their audience?

With Australia about to go to another federal election, Journo host Nick Bryant investigates whether political coverage needs an overhaul. Nick’s guests are Guardian Australia editor Lenore Taylor, The Saturday Paper reporter Rick Morton, The Australian‘s QLD bureau chief Michael McKenna, and Jay Rosen, who teaches journalism at New York University.

More from Journo

Journo explores the issues, opportunities and challenges facing journalists and shaping the media industry.

Episode 7: The story-breaker — The rise of Jonathan Swan

Jonathan Swan’s interview with US president Donald Trump made headlines (and millions of memes) around the world. In this episode, Nick chats to Jonathan about honing his TV interview style, his ferocious work ethic and how he rose to become one of the most influential Australian reporters in the world.

Episode 6: Steve Coll on journalism in this disrupted world

In this episode multiple Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Steve Coll reflects on the immense changes that have shaped the news industry over the past 25 years.

Episode 5: Live from your living room — reporting from the frontlines of the pandemic

Covid-19 has changed the way we live but also the way we cover news. For journalists, it’s meant living with the possibility of getting the virus and passing it on to their families.

It has thrown science and health journalism into the spotlight, showing how critical and well-researched that reporting must be when the science itself is changing.

It has challenged political reporters to try and do their jobs while being scrutinised by a tribal and sometimes vitriolic audience.

In the latest episode of Journo Nick Bryant examines the ways the pandemic has affected journalism.

Episode 4: The Troublemaker and the Terrier

In episode 4, Nick meets the Troublemaker and the Terrier.

One’s a former lawyer whose fierce reporting has been stifled by a local council that says she asks too many questions.

The other wonders how she’ll keep her one-woman operation going in the face of mounting overheads and increased regulation.

Episode 3: Who’s really listening — Reporting when your phone is the enemy

In this episode, Nick investigates the technology being used to monitor and intimidate those holding power to account — and finds a coalition of allies who’ve banded together to resist the digital incursion.

Episode 2: WeCensor — Getting news into and out of China

In the second episode, Nick  investigates how journalists can get accurate information to Australia’s Chinese diaspora, and whether it’s possible for foreign news organisations to get authentic coverage out of China without boots on the ground.

Episode 1: Journalists will be free to report — and other lies the Taliban tells

In this first episode of Journo, host Nick Bryant investigates the exodus of Afghan media, and the powerful spin from Taliban HQ that helped them claim the country.

Tags: Journo