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When journalists run for office: the effects of journalist-candidates on citizens’ populist attitudes and voting intentions

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-06-29, 16:00 authored by Cristian Vaccari

This study analyzes how citizens respond to information about high-profile journalists who run for office for major political parties. An experiment embedded in the Italian National Election Studies 2018 pre-election survey (N=1,533) tested whether exposure to information about journalistcandidates affects citizens’ levels of populist attitudes and voting intentions. Information on journalist-candidates led to statistically significant increases in populist attitudes, particularly when participants were told that journalists were running for all the main parties. By contrast, participants who were informed about journalist-candidates did not increase their probability to vote for the parties that featured journalist-candidates in their lists. These findings suggest that political parties do not stand to gain substantial electoral benefits when they recruit journalist-candidates, but this practice increases citizens’ perceptions that both journalism and politics do not serve their interests. Citizens remain attached to the idea that journalists should retain some distance from politics rather than aim to become politicians themselves.

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Communication and Media

Published in

International Journal of Communication

Volume

16

Pages

3422 - 3442

Publisher

University of Southern California

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Author

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by University of Southern California under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Acceptance date

2022-02-28

Publication date

2022-06-30

Copyright date

2022

ISSN

1932-8036

Language

  • en

Depositor

Prof Cristian Vaccari. Deposit date: 16 May 2022

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