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The production of political journalism: The push and pull of power, routines and constraints

Wahl-Jorgensen, Karin ORCID: 2014. The production of political journalism: The push and pull of power, routines and constraints. Reinemann, Carsten, ed. Political Communication, Handbooks of Communication Science, DeGruyter Mouton, (10.1515/9783110238174.305)

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This chapter discusses the journalistic practices surrounding the reporting of politics. It makes the argument that the practices of political reporting are underpinned by a key paradox: On the one hand, journalists are supposed to be in an adversarial relationship to concentrations of power, acting as advocates of the public (Higgins, 2008). They are central to the media’s role as a watchdog on government, holding it accountable for its actions through constant scrutiny, and providing citizens with the information that they need to make political decisions. The editorial processes involved in the production of political news have profound consequences for what information is available to audiences: The gatekeeping, news selection and agenda-setting work of journalism determine the universe of available political information, including what news events are covered and which individuals are given a voice, and which remain invisible to the public. On the other hand, political journalists are also frequently understood as being part of an “insider” political elite, complicit and intricately intertwined with political power (e.g. McNair, 2011). This privileged insider status, in turn, comes to shape the priorities of news production, alongside more subtle institutional constraints such as production routines and the spatial and temporal organization of news-gathering.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Publisher: DeGruyter Mouton
ISBN: 9783110238167
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2022 10:18

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