Election Media and Youth Political Engagement

  • Diana Owen


Election campaigns are regular opportunities for heightened political engagement and socialization. For many young people, politics becomes most visible and concrete during electoral contests. However, campaign media, at least in the United States, typically have not targeted young voters with messages that enhance their participation and turnout. In fact, much traditional election media coverage of youth has emphasized their lack of interest and involvement, and thus works to discourage the development of activist political orientations. With the evolution of new types of dynamic and populist media formats, such as blogs and social/political networking websites, young people have greater opportunities to establish a presence in election campaigns on their own terms. This piece will explore how new developments in campaign media are changing the relationship of young people to the electoral process.