Check out the US election coverage website 10questions.com and imagine what a similar site for Australia could do.
10Questions.com takes some of the ideas of Jay Rosen and other news-media reform advocates to recast election campaign news coverage away from the horse-race and inside-baseball paradigms that currently masquerade as informing the public: here are some of the tactics needed to form a Citizens Agenda for Campaign Coverage that can cut through the soundbite culture to allow time for serious reflection and consideration of the questions voters want to hear answered, and provide a mechanism for unfavourably highlighting the politicians who won’t answer those questions in contrast to the space made available to those politicians who will.
The soundbite culture of the neverending news cycle arose from the need for commercial news media to deliver eyeballs for their advertisers – the more colour and movement there is, the better – that’s the rationale. Our latest election shows how very dissatisfied voters are when politicians are too obviously tailoring their message to fit the demands of the news cycle rather than answering the questions voters want to hear. How many of those dissatisfied voters might be much more interested in a site that invites politicians to take their time to make an in-depth answer? How many eyeballs shifting to an in-depth coverage site would it take to make a dent in the soundbite circus?
It seems like something worth giving a go.