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The push to popularize politics: Understanding the audience-friendly packaging of political news in six media systems since the 1960s


Umbricht, Andrea; Esser, Frank (2016). The push to popularize politics: Understanding the audience-friendly packaging of political news in six media systems since the 1960s. Journalism Studies, 17(1):100-121.

Abstract

This study offers a five-item based measurement of popularization of news (combining sensationalization, scandalization, emotionalization, common people narrative and privatization of public figures) to examine a core assumption in the comparative literature, namely the convergence in Western journalism toward the Liberal Model. A content analysis of more than 6000 stories from 18 news outlets (regional, national and weekly papers) in six press systems (United States, Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy) stretching across five decades (1960s to 2010s) finds an increase but no convergence in the popularization of political news. Factors located at the national and the organizational levels correspond in characteristic ways with differences in the use of popularization-related strategies. With the growing need to offer additional attractions to oversaturated consumers, further increases in popularized political news are to be expected in the future but only according to specific conditions.

Abstract

This study offers a five-item based measurement of popularization of news (combining sensationalization, scandalization, emotionalization, common people narrative and privatization of public figures) to examine a core assumption in the comparative literature, namely the convergence in Western journalism toward the Liberal Model. A content analysis of more than 6000 stories from 18 news outlets (regional, national and weekly papers) in six press systems (United States, Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy) stretching across five decades (1960s to 2010s) finds an increase but no convergence in the popularization of political news. Factors located at the national and the organizational levels correspond in characteristic ways with differences in the use of popularization-related strategies. With the growing need to offer additional attractions to oversaturated consumers, further increases in popularized political news are to be expected in the future but only according to specific conditions.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Communication
Uncontrolled Keywords:comparative media research, content analysis, convergence, emotionalization, political news, popularization index, scandalization, sensationalism
Language:English
Date:2 January 2016
Deposited On:22 Apr 2020 08:54
Last Modified:31 Jul 2020 03:51
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1461-670X
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/1461670x.2014.963369

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