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Department of Communication and Media Research International & Comparative Media Research

Media-centered Reporting Styles in Television News across Countries

Frank Esser & Florin Büchel

This project studies an important factor of the process of mediatization of politics that is seen as its driving force: media logic. Media logic refers to how politics is represented and defined in the news media. It is characterized by specific narrative techniques, presentational styles and production formats that news organizations use in order to succeed in the society-wide struggle for people's attention. These frames and formats influence the readers' or viewers' political worldviews. The logic of news making and policy making do not always coincide and sometimes openly clash. The project investigates whether the media content of political affairs today is more governed by a media logic or a political logic. It does so by analyzing election campaign coverage on television news in several countries in order to identify different reporting styles. These reporting styles are either more media-centered, focusing on journalists as important actors in election campaigns, or rather politician-centered, granting candidates in an election enough opportunities to present themselves in the media. First results indicate three different reporting styles: firstly, a US-American style (together with Germany) where candidates run highly controlled campaigns with a lot of attack rhetoric, for which they are punished by journalists with limited opportunities to present themselves – a media-centered reporting style. Secondly, a Northern-European style (Denmark, Britain, Switzerland and to some degree France) is identified. It shows more interactive political campaigns, but the journalistic voice is still dominant in the coverage, leading to a defensive rhetoric by politicians. And thirdly, a Southern-European style can be found for Italy and Spain where campaigns are rather uncontrolled, but the journalists grant the politicians a lot of space in the coverage – which indicates a politician-centered reporting style.

Weiterführende Informationen

International & Comparative Media Research