Today’s political candidates campaign in a world in which news and information travels with unprecedented speed and arrives on smartphones that we carry in our pockets.
But modern technology has not produced a more informed and educated electorate. In fact, when New Jersey voters go to the polls on Nov. 5 to choose a candidate a governor, they may be less prepared to make that decision than they were four years ago.
For starters, the size of newsroom staffs at news outlets covering the state has decreased through buyouts, layoffs and other cutbacks. At the same time, the growth of the Internet has altered the manner in which news is gathered, reported and disseminated, placing new demands on depleted news staffs. Neither of these developments is unique to New Jersey, but our experience in the Garden State may provide a lesson for the rest of the nation. Because we are the most densely populated state in the country, public policy issues often emerge here first – and we are among the first to react and respond to them.