- The Fourth Estate
- Book title
- Election Watchdogs
- Book subtitle
- Transparency, Accountability, and Integrity
- Pages (from-to)
- New York, NY: Oxford University Press
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
This chapter analyzes the quality of election coverage by the traditional news media. It describes a hierarchical model of influences that is expected to shape the fairness of election coverage. These operate at three levels: the political and social structure, the media market, and the journalistic culture. The chapter shows that the fairness of election coverage is lower when the content of information is distorted by pressures from exogenous actors such as politicians and pressure groups, when the media market faces a hypercommercialization, and when journalists see their role redefined toward infotainment journalism that creates the conditions for a strong shift toward soft news. On the other hand, the quality of elections coverage by traditional news media is higher when media outlets are dispersed across multiple and competitive institutions, which promotes inclusiveness and sets up safeguards against the emergence of media oligopolies.
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