This article addresses how The New York Times, through an investigative series on drug use and catastrophic breakdowns in U.S. horse racing, influenced policy initiatives across a 6-month period. Beginning with the March 25, 2012, exposé “Mangled Horses, Maimed Jockeys,” the article analyzes how the newspaper helped define policy conversations at both the state and national levels. The article also addresses how the Interstate Horseracing Improvement Act of 2011, a fledgling piece of legislation, became what Kingdon described as a “solution in search of a problem” and thus a political lever in policy deliberations. Long recognized for its capacity to influence the content of other news outlets, the article concludes, The New York Times can also play an important role in legislative arenas, informing lawmakers of salient issues, as well as opportunities for substantive and symbolic policy actions.
The author is with the Dept. of Communication Studies at Clemson University, Clemson, SC.