- Political leaders and the media: can we measure political leadership images in newspapers using computer-assisted content analysis?
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- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
Despite the large amount of research into both media coverage of politics as well as political leadership, surprisingly little research has been devoted to the ways political leaders are discussed in the media. This paper studies whether computer-aided content analysis can be applied in examining political leadership images in Dutch newspaper articles. It, firstly, provides a conceptualization of political leader character traits that integrates different perspectives in the literature. Moreover, this paper measures twelve political leadership images in media coverage, based on a large-scale computer-assisted content analysis of Dutch media coverage (including almost 150.000 newspaper articles), and systematically tests the quality of the employed measurement instrument by assessing the relationship between the images, the variance in the measurement, the over-time development of images for two party leaders and by comparing the computer results with manual coding. We conclude that the computerized content analysis provides a valid measurement for the leadership images in Dutch newspapers. Moreover, we find that the dimensions political craftsmanship, vigorousness, integrity, communicative performances and consistency are regularly applied in discussing party leaders, but that portrayal of party leaders in terms of responsiveness is almost completely absent in Dutch newspapers.
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