Election Day shows us that many stories about the American voting process and the need for election reform slip beneath the radar of mainstream news coverage. Now that we’re just a few short months away from Election Day 2008, we want to take a close look at how
these issues are being covered today.

Join our news hunt! For the next two weeks, POV and PBS Engage are partnering with NewsTrust.net, a nonprofit social news site devoted to finding good journalism, to review current news stories about the 2008 elections with a focus on the voting process from the perspective of the American man and woman on the street. We invite you to participate in this “news hunt” — think of it as a scavenger hunt for good journalism — by signing up on the NewsTrust site and evaluating the media you’re already consuming every day.

To get started, simply sign up for an account on the NewsTrust.net site. Then you can rate as many articles as you like, using NewsTrust’s easy-to-use online tools. From the site’s homepage, click the "Politics" tab, then under "Topics>U.S. Elections," click "Presidential Election 2008." On that page, you can click any article title to go directly to the full article on the website where it was posted so you can read it thoroughly. When you’re ready, go back to NewsTrust; a review form will appear in a separate window, inviting you to rate that story — you can answer as many or as few of the questions on the form as you like. For more tips on how to join this news hunt, check NewsTrust’s New Member Welcome page.

Throughout the news hunt, you can see the top-rated Presidential Election 2008 stories as reviewed by NewsTrust users. You’ll see where the articles were published, a brief user summary/commentary on each article and links to other reviews. You’ll also see a direct link to the review page so you can contribute your own evaluation of a story’s coverage — you can choose to rate a story either with an overall recommendation or according to specific criteria, such as fairness or accuracy. If you see an article online that isn’t available on the NewsTrust site, you can submit it by using their bookmarklet, which makes it easy to submit news stories from your Web browser.

At the end of our two-week news hunt, we hope to have a better idea of the state of today’s news coverage on the presidential election, especially coverage of election reform. We’re anxious to see the results: Are the media doing a good job covering this topic? Are there areas that are not being addressed? What can we do to raise the bar for journalists covering these issues today? We want to know — so let your voice be heard and review some stories today!

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Catherine Jhee was formerly a producer with POV Interactive.