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Why national media systems matter: A longitudinal analysis of how UK left-wing and right-wing alternative media critique mainstream media (2015-2018)

Cushion, Stephen, McDowell-Naylor, Declan and Thomas, Richard 2021. Why national media systems matter: A longitudinal analysis of how UK left-wing and right-wing alternative media critique mainstream media (2015-2018). Journalism Studies 22 (5) , pp. 633-652. 10.1080/1461670X.2021.1893795

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Abstract

In recent years, the growth of new alternative media has brought greater editorial choice and diversity to political coverage in many advanced democracies. But their coverage of mainstream media and portrayal of professional journalism has been subject to little academic attention. This study examined the role alternative political media play in advancing public debate about the value and editorial standards of a national media system. Drawing on a longitudinal content analysis of UK alternative media between 2015 and 2018 (N = 3452), we found that mainstream media was often crticised—particularly in left-wing sites—and that disapproval of professional journalism intensified over time, most strikingly during the 2017 general election campaign. We also discovered that BBC news was often singled out for its political reporting, with criticism directed at its perceived bias and lack of impartiality. Overall, we argue it is the dominant characteristics of mainstream media in national media systems that help shape the editorial agenda of alternative media and the nature of criticism directed at professional journalism. We conclude that more comparative research is needed about how alternative media represent professional journalism, and whether they are influencing people’s understanding of politics and public affairs.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
ISSN: 1461-670X
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 February 2021
Date of Acceptance: 17 February 2021
Last Modified: 06 May 2021 14:37
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/138748

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