New Media and Political Campaigns
By Diana Owen
New media have been playing an increasingly central role in American elections since they first appeared in 1992. While television remains the main source of election information for a majority of voters, digital communication platforms have become prominent. New media have triggered changes in the campaign strategies of political parties, candidates, and political organizations; reshaped election media coverage; and influenced voter engagement. This chapter examines the stages in the development of new media in elections from the use of rudimentary websites to the rise sophisticated social media. It discusses the ways in which new media differ from traditional media in terms of their form, function, and content; identifies the audiences for new election media; and examines the effects on voter interest, knowledge, engagement, and turnout. Going forward, scholars need to employ creative research methodologies to catalogue and analyze new campaign media as they emerge and develop.