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Same campaign, differing agendas : analysing news media coverage of the 2005 General Election

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journal contribution
posted on 2008-01-28, 17:29 authored by David Deacon, Dominic Wring, Peter Golding
This analysis of the 2005 general election focuses on the way the formal campaign was reported, in their different ways, by national and local broadcasters and newspapers. Having assessed how much attention the various news media devoted to the election, Norris et al’s (1999) tri-partite distinction between the so-called ‘stop watch’, ‘agenda’ and ‘directional’ balances is applied to explore the relative prominence and positive/negative attention given to competing actors and issues. The analysis also compares how the major respective broadcasters and newspapers covered the campaign from their national (UK wide, Scottish and Welsh) and local (East Midlands) perspectives. There is further discussion of how the rival sectors (i.e. ‘popular’, ‘mid-market’ and ‘quality’ press, radio and television) reported the election in quite distinctive ways for their particular audiences. Various other themes, notably the ‘presidential’, ‘soundbite’, partisan and gendered nature of the coverage are considered. It is demonstrated how certain news media promoted the issues of ‘Iraq’, ‘Immigration and Asylum’ and ‘Impropriety’ onto the agenda at different stages during the campaign. By comparison other important policy areas were largely neglected. The conclusion discusses whether it is still possible to conceive of a singular ‘media agenda’ during a general election campaign.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies


DEACON, D., WRING, D. and GOLDING, P., 2005. Same campaign, differing agendas : analysing news media coverage of the 2005 General Election. British politics, 1 (2) , pp.1-35


© Palgrave Macmillan

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This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edit version of an article published in the journal, British politics [© Palgrave Macmillan]. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/bp/index.html




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