The 78 days of electioneering spanned three long weekends, and generated a veritable mountain of coverage.
Next week Justin Trudeau will be sworn in as Canada’s 23rd prime minister, but the dust has yet to settle on the lengthy – and fascinating – campaign that brought him to power.
[Read The Globe’s digital timeline of the election campaign.]
The 78 days of electioneering spanned three long weekends, and generated a veritable mountain of coverage. This newspaper alone published no fewer than 231 news and analysis articles, 134 photos and 122 columns, with even more material appearing online.
I counted it all – but not just to see how much there was. As public editor, I wanted to find out whether the coverage was balanced – and fair.
Readers had their doubts, and two articles in particular garnered more complaints than any of the others: an editorial in which The Globe endorsed the Conservatives (but not their leader) and a lengthy profile of Mr. Trudeau. Both stories were well read, but the first left some certain The Globe is pro-Conservative while, to others, the latter meant it was pro-Liberal.
What did I find, checking the coverage in the newspaper? In those news articles that featured one party or leader over the others, the Conservatives led the way. There were 53 pieces that focused primarily on Stephen Harper, compared with 45 for the New Democratic Party’s Tom Mulcair and 38 for Mr. Trudeau. The remaining 95 stories were on the race in general, and referred to some, if not all, of the leaders.
When it came to visuals, the tables were turned: There were 43 photos of Mr. Trudeau and 37 of Mr. Mulcair but just 24 of Mr. Harper. (Another 30 were devoted to other aspects of the race, or showed all three together.)
With photo exposure, the numbers are clear to see. And in this case, the lopsided distribution was accentuated late in the campaign when both opposition leaders were featured in heavily illustrated profiles.
To read the rest of this column, please go to the Globe and Mail's website, where it was originally published.