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Political Journalism in Comparative Perspective

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Part of Communication, Society and Politics

  • Date Published: April 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107036284

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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • Systematic cross-national comparative analysis
    • A comprehensive project using media content analyses and panel surveys
    • Studies production, content, and effects of political journalism
    Read more


    • Winner, 2016 Goldsmith Book Prize, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy

    Reviews & endorsements

    "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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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107036284
    • length: 264 pages
    • dimensions: 222 x 145 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.43kg
    • contains: 31 b/w illus. 11 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Comparing political journalism
    3. Journalists: the people behind the headlines
    4. Journalists and politicians: a troubled relationship
    5. Do role conceptions matter?
    6. What type of journalism produces public knowledge?
    7. Does infotainment journalism lead to political cynicism? The effects of privatization versus personalization in the news
    8. Good journalism, satisfied citizens? How perceived watchdog reporting affects satisfaction with political coverage
    9. Political journalism: today and tomorrow.

  • Authors

    Erik Albæk, University of Southern Denmark
    Erik Albæk is Professor of Journalism and Political Science and Research Director at the Centre for Journalism, Department of Political Science and Public Management at the University of Southern Denmark. His work has appeared in numerous journals including Journalism, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Political Communication, the Journal of Communication, the European Journal of Communication, and Party Politics. He is former chairman of the Danish Social Science Research Council and the Nordic Political Science Association.

    Arjen van Dalen, University of Southern Denmark
    Arjen van Dalen is Assistant Professor at the Centre for Journalism, Department of Political Science and Public Management at the University of Southern Denmark. His work has been published in The Global Journalists in the 21st Century (edited by David Weaver and Lars Willnat, 2012) and journals such as the European Journal of Communication, Political Communication, the International Journal of Press/Politics, Journalism, and Journalism Studies. He has lived, studied, and worked in The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Austria, Germany, Spain, Belgium, and Denmark.

    Nael Jebril, University of Oxford
    Nael Jebril is a postdoctoral fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. He holds a PhD in journalism (2011) from the Centre for Journalism, Department of Political Science and Public Management, University of Southern Denmark, and an MA in global journalism (2006) from Örebro University, Sweden. His research has received support from the Danish Social Science Research Council.

    Claes H. de Vreese, Universiteit van Amsterdam
    Claes H. de Vreese is Professor and Chair of Political Communication and Director of the Amsterdam School of Communication Research at the University of Amsterdam. He is the founding Director of the Center for Politics and Communication ( and Adjunct Professor of Political Science and Journalism at the University of Southern Denmark. His research interests include comparative journalism research, the effects of news, public opinion and European integration, effects of information and campaigning on elections, referendums, and direct democracy.


    • Winner, 2016 Goldsmith Book Prize, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
    • Winner, 2018 Best Book Award, International Journal of Press/Politics

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