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Contested federal elections in increasingly commercialized media. A diachronic analysis of elections news coverage in Switzerland


Udris, Linards; Lucht, Jens; Schneider, Jörg (2015). Contested federal elections in increasingly commercialized media. A diachronic analysis of elections news coverage in Switzerland. Swiss Political Science Review = Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, 21(4):578-595.

Abstract

In view of the sinking level of consensus and the allegedly growing ‘presidentialization’ of politics in Switzerland, this paper asks whether this process can be explained by the ‘mediatization of politics’, enforced by the commercialization of the media. Taking a comparative approach in analyzing news coverage about executive and parliamentary elections from 1960 to 2011 in three different media types, it shows an increasing focus on executive elections, triggered not only by increasing political conflict but also by commercialized ‘media logic’. Attention to the executive is highest in the commercialized tabloid paper and lowest in the less commercialized quality paper, which only much later starts to focus on these elections. Contested executive elections have become attractive for commercialized media to focus on prominent figures and dramatize conflicts. This news reporting about politics arguably gives incentives for political actors to contest executive elections, thus intensifying the transformation of the political system.

Abstract

In view of the sinking level of consensus and the allegedly growing ‘presidentialization’ of politics in Switzerland, this paper asks whether this process can be explained by the ‘mediatization of politics’, enforced by the commercialization of the media. Taking a comparative approach in analyzing news coverage about executive and parliamentary elections from 1960 to 2011 in three different media types, it shows an increasing focus on executive elections, triggered not only by increasing political conflict but also by commercialized ‘media logic’. Attention to the executive is highest in the commercialized tabloid paper and lowest in the less commercialized quality paper, which only much later starts to focus on these elections. Contested executive elections have become attractive for commercialized media to focus on prominent figures and dramatize conflicts. This news reporting about politics arguably gives incentives for political actors to contest executive elections, thus intensifying the transformation of the political system.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Sociology
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute for Research on the Public Sphere and Society
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Uncontrolled Keywords:Mediatization of politics;media coverage;elections;content analysis;Switzerland
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:07 Jan 2016 10:21
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:49
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1424-7755
Additional Information:Special Issue: “Consensus lost? Disenchanted Democracy in Switzerland”
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/spsr.12171

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