Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Robert W. Dardenne, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tony Silvia, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ray Arsenault, Ph.D.


new media, Internet, newspapers, fact checking, campaign news reporting, social networks


The explosion of new political speech in digital formats in the 2008 elections, especially those involving social networking, offered new opportunities and challenges for political journalists, campaign participants and voters alike. This review of new political media in 2008 examines how these new methods of political organizing and communications work and provides insights to further understand how media can best cover and participate in them. The thesis details how 2008 was the first fully Web 2.0 election, exhibiting its characteristics of interactivity, use of databases and the "long tail" of microniche Internet websites. Three new media uses - online, database-driven political speech fact checking as exemplified by PolitiFact; the social networking site Facebook; and interactive, no-cost video streaming on YouTube - illustrate where the changes from traditional political communications to new media are most dramatic. A heightened awareness of emerging political communications forms and a new model for political journalists' interaction with news consumers and vastly different skills sets for reporters will be needed for news media to cover and participate in the new digital electorate.