Strategic news frames and public policy debates: Press and television news coverage of the euro in the UK

Abstract

There is growing concern amongst observers of the media that news coverage of politics has moved away from a focus on issues, and instead towards political strategy. Research evidencing such concerns has tended to examine strategic news at a macro level and rarely delves into the complexities surrounding its manifestations. This study addresses this issue by conducting a content analysis of a non-election issue in the British news media (press and TV news) over a three-month period, examining strategy news as a frame. The issue chosen for case study was the “euro debate” of May–June 2003. Findings showed the euro debate to fulfil many typical characteristics of EU reporting in the British media, with coverage cyclical and driven by events, and subsequently lacking sustained engagement with the issues. Although there was a roughly equal balance of issue and strategy framed stories in the press, certain features of coverage gave strategy greater prominence. Despite much of the content analysis's findings confirming the worries of media critics, a number of qualifications emerge, such as the active role that politicians play as sources of strategic news.

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The European Journal of Communication Research is an established forum for scholarship and academic debate in the field of communication science and research from a European perspective. Communications highlights the concerns of communication science through the publication of articles, research reports, review essays and book reviews on theoretical and methodological developments considered from a European perspective.

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