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World Political Science

Ed. by Cardinal, Linda

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From Newspaper to Parliament and Back? A Study of Media Attention as Source for and Result of the Dutch Question Hour

Peter Van Aelst / Rosa van Santen / Lotte Melenhorst / Luzia Helfer
Published Online: 2016-10-05 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/wps-2016-0011


This study on the role of media attention for the Dutch question hour answers three questions: to what extent is media attention a source of inspiration for oral parliamentary questions? What explains the newsworthiness of these questions? And what explains the extent of media coverage for the questions posed during the question hour? To address this, we present a content analysis of oral parliamentary questions and related press coverage in five recent years. The results show first that oral questions are usually based on media attention for a topic. Concerns about media influence should however be nuanced: it is not necessarily the coverage itself, but also regularly a political statement that is the actual source of a parliamentary question. The media are thus an important “channel” for the interaction between politicians. Second, our analysis shows that oral questions do not receive media attention naturally. Several news values help to explain the amount of news coverage that questions receive. “Surfing the wave” of news attention for a topic in the days previous to the question hour seems to be the best way to generate media attention.

Keywords: content analysis; media attention; newspaper coverage; parliamentary questions; question hour


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About the article

Published Online: 2016-10-05

Published in Print: 2016-11-01

Citation Information: World Political Science, Volume 12, Issue 2, Pages 261–282, ISSN (Online) 2363-4782, ISSN (Print) 2363-4774, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/wps-2016-0011.

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