NYT public editor sees lack of focus on Bernie Sanders

The New York Times

The New York Times has not ignored the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, but it also "hasn’t always taken it very seriously," Public Editor Margaret Sullivan wrote this afternoon.

Some of it is focused on the candidate’s age, appearance and style rather than what he has to say.

Sullivan's assessment comes after an analysis of the paper's coverage that was spurred by a series of reader comments over the last several months. That analysis showed that in August, The Times has spilled far less ink tracking Sanders (14 articles) than it has on his chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton (54 articles). Sanders' fellow electoral dark horse, Donald Trump, has garnered 63 articles during that time, the most of any candidate.

Sullivan notes that Clinton, with her large war chest and legions of supporters, would naturally garner lots of coverage from the Times. And she acknowledges that the paper has devoted multiple front-page stories to the senator from Vermont. But the style and substance of the paper's coverage "does seem regrettably dismissive, even mocking at times," she writes:

The Times’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, told me recently that he wants to focus more heavily on issue stories in the coming weeks and months. Candidates like Mr. Sanders – no matter how electable they prove to be – can and should be a part of that. Times readers are completely within their rights to expect and demand it.

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    Benjamin Mullin

    Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism innovation, business practices and ethics.

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