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Patterns of newsmaking in Western journalism : a content analysis of newspaper across six Western democracies and five decades


Umbricht, Andrea. Patterns of newsmaking in Western journalism : a content analysis of newspaper across six Western democracies and five decades. 2014, University of Zurich, Faculty of Arts.

Abstract

This cumulative thesis is based on a comparative content analysis of public affairs coverage in three press sectors (national, regional, weekly) in six countries (USA, GBR, GER, SWI, ITA, FRA) during routine periods from 1960 to 2007. This thesis investigates how context, time and newspaper type can influence political newsmaking in Western democracies in symptomatic ways. Journalism today has become more dependent on media market developments. Processes of economic liberalization and deregulation of media markets have induced commercialization trends of growing concentration and competition of media companies. To counter this intensified competition from attention, journalists increasingly operate according to their own motives that are shaped by “commercial” rules (imperatives of the market) and “professional” rules (professional aspirations of journalists). The empirical findings presented here indicate that a more commercial (audience-oriented) and a more professional (interpretative and critical) kind of newsmaking emerged but developed differently across countries, newspaper types and time. The main findings of this dissertation can be summarized as follows: First, this dissertation provides empirical evidence for an increase in highlighting the negative, sensationalist and emotional facets of the news, hunting scandals, privileging the viewpoints of common people, and emphasizing the private lives of politicians to attract large audiences. However, this transformation toward a more commercialized news reporting and thus a more “popular style” is, for example, less distinct in the Swiss newspapers and does not occur in German newspapers. British and American newspapers, in particular, seem to be forced to adapt to market pressures, as their levels of popularization in the news items increase the most. This shift toward a more entertainment-oriented approach to newsmaking raises legitimate democratic concerns when considering the argument that these developments lead to public cynicism and political apathy. Second, this dissertation also shows empirically that the profession of journalism is undergoing a profound transformation in that interpretative journalism has largely supplanted descriptive reporting. This characteristic of a more professionalized news reporting refers to the journalists’ aspirations to preserve their independence from political manipulation. A growing contextualization, profound interpretation of complex issues (answering why-questions, addressing causes and consequences of occurrences, showing connections to other events)

Abstract

This cumulative thesis is based on a comparative content analysis of public affairs coverage in three press sectors (national, regional, weekly) in six countries (USA, GBR, GER, SWI, ITA, FRA) during routine periods from 1960 to 2007. This thesis investigates how context, time and newspaper type can influence political newsmaking in Western democracies in symptomatic ways. Journalism today has become more dependent on media market developments. Processes of economic liberalization and deregulation of media markets have induced commercialization trends of growing concentration and competition of media companies. To counter this intensified competition from attention, journalists increasingly operate according to their own motives that are shaped by “commercial” rules (imperatives of the market) and “professional” rules (professional aspirations of journalists). The empirical findings presented here indicate that a more commercial (audience-oriented) and a more professional (interpretative and critical) kind of newsmaking emerged but developed differently across countries, newspaper types and time. The main findings of this dissertation can be summarized as follows: First, this dissertation provides empirical evidence for an increase in highlighting the negative, sensationalist and emotional facets of the news, hunting scandals, privileging the viewpoints of common people, and emphasizing the private lives of politicians to attract large audiences. However, this transformation toward a more commercialized news reporting and thus a more “popular style” is, for example, less distinct in the Swiss newspapers and does not occur in German newspapers. British and American newspapers, in particular, seem to be forced to adapt to market pressures, as their levels of popularization in the news items increase the most. This shift toward a more entertainment-oriented approach to newsmaking raises legitimate democratic concerns when considering the argument that these developments lead to public cynicism and political apathy. Second, this dissertation also shows empirically that the profession of journalism is undergoing a profound transformation in that interpretative journalism has largely supplanted descriptive reporting. This characteristic of a more professionalized news reporting refers to the journalists’ aspirations to preserve their independence from political manipulation. A growing contextualization, profound interpretation of complex issues (answering why-questions, addressing causes and consequences of occurrences, showing connections to other events)

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Dissertation (monographical)
Referees:Esser Frank, Schäfer Mike
Communities & Collections:UZH Dissertations
Dewey Decimal Classification:Unspecified
Language:English
Place of Publication:Zurich
Date:2014
Deposited On:04 Apr 2019 08:31
Last Modified:17 Sep 2019 20:03
Number of Pages:156
OA Status:Green
Related URLs:https://www.recherche-portal.ch/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=ebi01_prod010464866&context=L&vid=ZAD&search_scope=default_scope&tab=default_tab&lang=de_DE (Library Catalogue)

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