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Political Journalism in Comparative Perspective
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Political journalism is often under fire. Conventional wisdom and much scholarly research suggest that journalists are cynics and political pundits. Political news is void of substance and overly focused on strategy and persons. Citizens do not learn from the news, are politically cynical, and are dissatisfied with the media. This book challenges these assumptions, which are often based on single-country studies with limited empirical observations about the relation between news production, content, and journalism's effects. Based on interviews with journalists, a systematic content analysis of political news, and panel survey data in different countries, this book tests how different systems and media-politics relations condition the contents of political news. It shows how different content creates different effects and demonstrates that under the right circumstances citizens learn from political news, do not become cynical, and are satisfied with political journalism.


'This book is a best-practice example of comparative research on news and political communication. By combining journalist surveys, content analyses, and panel surveys, it follows the entire political communication process in four countries. It demonstrates that different conditions create different kinds of political journalism, and it identifies those conditions most favorable to democratic news performance. This is an extremely informed, compellingly argued, and insightful assessment of political journalism in Europe. Moreover, it sets a new standard in comparative media research.'

Frank Esser - Universität Zürich

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