Westminster Tales: The 21st Century Crisis in Political Journalism

Overview

Politics today is inextricably bound to the media, indeed it is now a routine assumption that the media can determine election outcomes. Consequently, over the last twenty years, the conduct of politics has become increasingly driven by what might "play well" on television or in the press. Election campaigning, budgets, party platforms, and even the contents of legislative bills are dominated by media considerations.Westminster Tales explores how that relationship works in practice. What sort of deals are done ...

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Overview

Politics today is inextricably bound to the media, indeed it is now a routine assumption that the media can determine election outcomes. Consequently, over the last twenty years, the conduct of politics has become increasingly driven by what might "play well" on television or in the press. Election campaigning, budgets, party platforms, and even the contents of legislative bills are dominated by media considerations.Westminster Tales explores how that relationship works in practice. What sort of deals are done between politicians and jourbanalists? What tactics do politicians use to try and manipulate the media? What are jourbanalists' techniques of resistance? What determines how a campaign is put together? Have policy issues and the national good really been surrendered to image-making and sound-bite tactics? Barnett and Gaber examine the modern process of political communication through the eyes of the many actors now involved. Through their own experiences, and through personal interviews conducted with many of the key media and political figures, they construct a vivid picture of how political communication is managed today and the direction in which it is going.

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Editorial Reviews

The Times Literary Supplement
Westminster Tales examines the growing crisis in modern political journalism which, the authors argue, is leading to a less informed and less critical perspective on politics in general and the government of the day in particular. By addressing the reasons behind this decline in critical political reporting a vivid picture is painted of the state of journalism at the beginning of the 21st Century.
Booknews
Emphasizing the role of new technologies and the shifting focus of political debates in the media, this book discusses the challenge facing journalists as they struggle to provide accurate coverage amidst a continually shifting backdrop of events. The relationships between journalism and public opinion, between broadcasters and politicians, between owners and reporters, between the government and the press, between competing news agencies, and between the opposing political parties are all considered within the broad matrix of political journalism. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826450210
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 5/21/2001
  • Pages: 156
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.82 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author


Steven Barnett is senior lecturer in communications at University of Westminster, and the author of three books on the media.

Ivor Gaber is the UK's first professor of broadcast journalism (at Goldsmith's College, University of London) and currently runs BBC Radio Five's Westminster operation.

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Table of Contents

Introduction and acknowledgements
1 The crisis in political journalism: an outline of the argument 1
2 Public opinion and the impact of political journalism 11
3 The contours of political coverage: who does what in political journalism 32
4 Broadcasters and politicians: a history of control 48
5 Does ownership matter? 58
6 The consequences of competition 79
7 The power of party machines 96
8 Controlling the Whitehall machine 116
9 The changing reporting culture 125
10 Conclusions: why this crisis is real 135
Index 147
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