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Who Gets into the Papers? Party Campaign Messages and the Media

  • Thomas M. Meyer, Martin Haselmayer and Markus Wagner
Abstract

Parties and politicians want their messages to generate media coverage and thereby reach voters. This article examines how attributes related to content and sender affect whether party messages are likely to get media attention. Based on content analyses of 1,613 party press releases and 6,512 media reports in a parliamentary, multiparty context, we suggest that party messages are more likely to make it into the news if they address concerns that are already important to the media or other parties. Discussing these issues may particularly help opposition parties and lower-profile politicians get media attention. These results confirm the importance of agenda setting and gatekeeping, shed light on the potential success of party strategies, and have implications for political fairness and representation.

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Department of Government, University of Vienna (emails: thomas.meyer@univie.ac.at, martin.haselmayer@univie.ac.at, markus.wagner@univie.ac.at). We would like to thank the FWF (Austrian Science Fund) for their support under grant numbers S10902-G11, S10903-G11 and S10907-G11. We thank the anonymous reviewers, Heike Klüver, our panellists at the 2015 MPSA Annual Conference, and the 2015 EPSA Annual Conference and seminar participants at the Universities of Essex and Zurich for valuable comments and suggestions. We also thank Jana Brandl and Ferdinand Ferroli for their research assistance. Replication data sets are available in Harvard Dataverse at: https://dx.doi.org/doi:10.7910/DVN/RB48KU and online appendix is available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007123417000400.

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