In the Rise of Race Beats, Echoes of History | UnderReporting Black Voters Helping Republicans Win

[Columbia Journalism Review]
Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran may owe the Congressional Black Caucus for helping him beat back a tea party challenger in his state’s primary last month, but journalists have the Associated Press’ Jesse Holland to thank for breaking the news last month in the first place.

As a race and ethnicity reporter at the AP, the tale of mostly Democratic black voters helping a Republican incumbent keep his job is just the kind of story Holland was hired to uncover. If the AP didn’t have someone specifically watching for these type of stories, then the Cochran affair might not have gotten covered, Holland said.

He broke the story not by relying on local reporters closely following the behavior of black voters in the GOP primary, because no other reporters were actually doing that.
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