How much time do people spend with news across media?

How much time do people on average spend with news on a daily basis? A few weeks back, Chris Moran from the Guardian asked this seemingly simply question to which I did not know, but wanted to know, the answer.

Moran

 

There are at least three immediate problems in answering the question. First, people won’t necessarily agree on what precisely constitutes news versus other genres (opinion, sport, culture, etc.), second, we don’t have consistent reliable data across platforms (digital, broadcast, print) and, third, the best available source of consistent data across platforms, surveys, relies on self-reporting, which is notoriously plagued by problems of social desirability bias and inaccurate recall. (Markus Prior compared surveys with behavioural data for TV and found that surveys on average exaggerate news consumption by a factor of three.)

I am going to ignore these three problems here (because we can’t solve them at the moment), as well as the many others that complicate a precise and robust result, and try to give a minimal viable answer to Chris’ rather relevant question. I will offer a high estimate based on generous assumptions and a low estimate based on more conservative assumptions. The figures for the UK in 2016 are, 74 minutes and 25 minutes, depending on assumptions, and for the US 72 minutes and 24 minutes.

stacked bar

I will caveat the estimates further by saying that (1) that time spent does not mean “devote” as in Chris’ original question, as much media use involve multi-tasking, either dual screening with multiple media (about 1/5 of media use according to Ofcom) or using media while also doing something else, and  (2) statistically, we know that “no one is average”, so there will be significant variation most importantly probably by age, interest, and socio-economic class—but I will stick to averages here for a simple overview with simple assumptions.

Enough caveats—here is what the estimates above are based on. First, an estimate of what percentage of time spend on specific media platforms (television, radio, etc.) people spend on news. Second, up-to-date data on how much time people spend with specific media platforms. The high estimates treat the self-reported data as relatively reliable. Third, the low estimate simply divide self-reported figures by three as per Prior’s finding.

The steps then are as follows—

 

First, the estimate of time spent with news.

The most recent publicly available study based on a single consistent source of data that estimates time spent with news that I know of is from the Pew Research Center in the US. In 2010, they surveyed Americans to learn how much time they spent with news on various platforms, including television, radio, print, and online. Using data from this study on the number of minutes Americans said they spent with news on various media platforms and data from eMarketer on how much time American spent in total with the same various media platforms allow us to calculate the percentage of time spent with news on each platform—e.g. in 2010, Pew finds that people on average spend 32 minutes with television news on a daily basis, and eMarketer reports people spend 4 hours and 24 minutes watching television, so television news accounts for 12 percent of viewing time.

So here is what we get. In 2010 in the United States in, the average time spend with news by medium was—

32 minutes of television news (12% of 4:24 average viewing time)

13 minutes of digital news (7% of 3:14 spent with digital media across desktop, smartphone, and tablet)

10 minutes of print news (20% of 0:50 spent with print)

15 minutes of radio news (16% of 1:36 spent with radio)

70 minutes in total (about 11 % of the 10 hours and 42 minutes eMarketer estimated Americans spend with media daily in 2010).

 

Second, up-to-date data on time spend with specific media platforms.

For this, I use Ofcom’s Digital Day study from 2016 for the UK and from eMarketer for the US. If we use the percentages calculated above as a reasonable approximation of how much time spend with a particular medium is spend specifically with news on average, we can calculate the average time spend with news by looking at people’s media use in 2016. (Strong public service media in the UK may mean that the US percentages are too low, as public service media tend to program more news at peak viewing times (documented by Toril Aalberg et al.) and reach wide audiences online.)

The estimates then look as follows—

UK 2016, based on data from Ofcom

38 minutes of TV news (12% of 5:13 viewing time)

19 minutes of digital news (7% of 4:27 spent with digital media across desktop, smartphone, and tablet)

5 minutes of print news (20% of 0:26 spent with print)

12 minutes of radio news (16% of 1:15 spent with radio)

74 minutes in total (this too is about 11% of the 10 hours and 52 minutes Ofcom estimated Brits spend with media daily in 2016).

 

US 2016, based on data from eMarketer

29 minutes of TV news (12% of 4:05 viewing time)

23 minutes of digital (7% of 5:25 spent with digital media across desktop, smartphone, and tablet)

6 minutes of print (20% of 0:28 spent with print)

14 minutes of radio (16% of 1:27 spent with radio)

72 minutes in total (so about 10% of the 12 hours and 5 minutes eMarketer estimated Americans spend with media daily in 2016).

 

The high estimates based on generous assumptions stop here.

 

Third, the low estimates in the figure above

These are based on more conservative assumptions by factoring in Prior’s finding, that people on average over-report by a factor of three (young people, rich people, and people with kids tend to over-report more than that—in some demographics by a factor of eight). The factor may be different in the UK but Prior’s estimate is the best I know of.

Looking specifically at the figure for digital, other sources based on tracking data rather than recall would support that. While the self-reported measures from Pew suggest that people in 2010 on average spent 7% of their time with digital media with news, tracking data from Nielsen suggest that the actual figure in 2011 was much lower, reportedly just 2.6%. This is close to the figure one would arrive at if factoring in Prior’s average over-reporting (2.3%). And some figures for how much time people spend with news across digital media are lower than that. (In the absence of robust data, I have not tried to account for possible difference in the share of news that people consume as part of various ways of using digital media, e.g. difference between desktop and mobile, or difference between news as a share of browsing on the open web versus as a share of time spent with social media—if people know of good data I would like to see it so I can update.)

 

So what?

Beyond giving high and low estimates of how much time people on average spend with news on a daily basis, these calculations also draw attention to a basic feature of the structural move from analogue to digital media: news is a much, much smaller share of what we do with digital media (at most 7% on average) than it is of what we do with older offline forms of media, including print (20%), radio (16%) and even television (12%). The move to a digital media environment with far fiercer competition for our attention is thus a move to an environment in which people spend more time with media, but almost certainly will spend less time with news—and this would be even more so if it wasn’t for products and services like search engines and social media that in their current form demonstrably drive incidental exposure to news when people use them for other purposes.

The powerful driving forces behind this shift are technology, which vastly expand supply, and our relative preferences, which determines the demand. And as Prior has shown in previous work on the move to cable television, while almost everyone is interested in news, most of us have many other things we are more interested in, so the more we get to choose from, the bigger the gulf between those who are most interested in news and those who are less interested in it. Media choice is good in many ways, but it also increases information inequality. And no media environment has ever offered us as many choices as we have today with digital media.

I am grateful to Richard Fletcher for his comments, suggestions, and assistance.

Advertisements

Why is political communication research absent from current public+policy debates and what can be done about this absence?

I’ve written a short essay “No One Cares What We Know: Three Responses to the Irrelevance of Political Communication Research” for The Forum in Political Communication.

In it, I examine why academics working in the field of political communication research have been largely absent from recent important and high-profile public and policy debates around political-communication related issues like fake news, propaganda, and surprise election results (Trump, Brexit, Corbyn/May). I offer different ways of responding to our current irrelevance, academic purism (redoubling efforts to produce more precise and reliable work answering questions that arise from our past work), scholarly conservatism (reproducing the current mode of work), or intellectual pragmatism (reform oriented towards more context-driven, problem-focused, and interdisciplinary forms of knowledge production premised in part on engagement with the big, public issues of our time, a style like that pursued by some of the founders of our field, such as Paul Lazarsfeld). I personally favor the third, but I am interested in a debate about how we move forward as a field and as a community.

As part of the article, I also briefly sketch out different ideal typical “styles” of engagement for scholars interested in increasing the impact of their work — engagement here is not about sounding off about one’s opinions or chasing media attention for media attentions’ sake, but about thinking about what combination of strategy (inside or outside) and stance (partisan versus impartial) is worthwhile. The figure below capture the ideal types.

engagement

The full article is available here and the abstract below. A pre-publication version is here.

Abstract: Public discussions around the role of different forms of political communication in influencing various political outcomes in for example the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election and UK EU Referendum suggest that political communications research is largely marginal to these public discussions. We might think we have epistemic authority over our object of analysis, but no one cares what we know. The result is that substantially important public (and policy) discussions of issues at the core of our field are dumber than they could have been, in part due to our absence, an absence that is in turn in part due to the ways in which we as a field do our work. In this essay, I identify some of the external and internal factors that help account for this and suggest that we as a community debate whether we want to do something about our irrelevance and the internal norms and institutions that contribute to it. I offer three possible responses, labelled academic purism, scholarly conservatism, and intellectual pragmatism, and different styles of engagement, and ask whether we should aim to be a more active part of the “rough process” of public discussion, or simply leave it to others and accept that no one cares what we know.

Thanks to Michael Wagner for the invitation to write it, to Danna Young for our discussions, and to Matt Powers and Lucas Graves for their comments on an earlier draft.

What is journalism studies studying?

I’m at the 2017 Future of Journalism conference in Cardiff, one of the most important academic journalism studies conferences in the world, with more than 200 participants from Europe, the US, and beyond. Over 150 papers will be presented, many of them will later be published in some of the field’s top journals.

All these papers are work-in-progress, fresh, recent, up-to-date work by a wide range of academics studying journalism from a range of perspectives, from a range of background, from a range of countries.

In combination, they provide a basis for at least a partial answer to the question of what journalism studies is actually studying today.

So I did a quick and subjective categorization of all the paper titles by topic. (This is not a formal content analysis, and I did this on my own. For a more rigorous recent meta-analysis of the field, see this piece by Laura Ahva and Steen Steensen.) The results are below. I categorized the 150+ papers by their title, and collapsed all topics with less than 5 papers into “others”.

I found the results quite interesting – in part as a reminder how where academic research overlaps with pressing civic, professional, industry, and policy-maker concerns (and where it does not), in part as an illustration of how the academic community collectively gather around certain topics in bottom-up ways with little in terms of explicit, coordinated discussion of what “the field” “should do”.

FoJ for blog

The bulk of the presenters and the bulk of the presentations are from and focused on high income democracies, so there are a whole range of issues around state censorship, freedom of expression, violence against journalists, media capture, and other very pressing issues that are largely absent.

Given the focus on high-income democracies, a couple of stand-outs from me—

  • Lots of discussion of post-truth and fake-news, from what I have seen presented so far often critical of how these terms are used, but also a case of academics latching on the fashionable terms. (It is interesting that there is relatively little audience research in general, and on this in particular–though Irene Costera Meijer and Tim Groot Kormelink had interesting data and analysis.)
  • Discussion of social media, search engines, and messaging apps is primarily focused on what news organizations and ordinary users do with platform companies’ products and services (especially social media) (lot’s of Twitter buzz around Shannon MacGregor‘s presentation–I did not hear it myself), and not on what platform companies do to the wider media environment (discussions of digital intermediaries).
  • Much work is being done on new journalistic formats and practices (data journalism, fact-checking, use of analytics, virtual reality, etc.) and growing body of work on digital-born news organizations—this is important and encouraging, work by Jane Singer, Valerie Belair-Gagnon and others.

Conspicuous absences, in my view—

  • The business models that funded most of journalism as we knew it are being fundamentally challenged by the move to digital media, the proliferation of choice for both audiences and advertisers, and the rise of platform companies, and in my view the question of new funding models is one of the most important ones today—yet we see, at least at this conference, very little work on it. One paper on willingness to pay, two on native advertising. (Richard Fletcher and I have done some work on this, I have a handbook chapter here, Jay Hamilton’s more than ten years old book remains a classic as is work of Robert Picard.)
  • Beyond that, the question of innovation and entrepreneurship, of constant organizational change in legacy and digital-born news media seems of central importance to me, and has been the subject of a fair amount of work in the past, but little at this conference. (I look to Lucy Kung for work on this, have also done some with Alessio Cornia and Annika Sehl on some of these issues, see various reports here, here, and here.)
  • Similarly, the way in which platform companies are part of a structural transformation of our media environments, for good, for ill, in all its nuance and complexity, is a monumental change with profound consequences for journalism and news media, but one we, at least here, see little academic research on. (Sarah Ganter and I have done some work on this and more to come, Jose van Dijck, Tarleton Gillespie and Frank Pasquale are among my go-to sources outside journalism studies).

Finally, a couple of classic and important topics that have seen quite few papers at least at this conference—

  • I saw only one paper title on television news. Less important than in the past, surely, and historically always under-researched in journalism studies, but still incredibly important and widely used, especially by older people (who can decide elections! See Trump and Brexit…) I like Stephen Cushion’s work on this as well as older work by Russ Neuman and colleagues.
  • Two papers on public service media. Given the estimated the estimated annual investment of about €16.6 billion in public service provision across Europe alone, their importance, widely varying performance, different challenges including political pressure and need to develop digital offerings, that seems like a topic worth a bit more investigation.
  • One paper on inequality. Given the a development where many societies are more and more unequal in many ways, and given that we have reasons to believe that the move from a low-choice to a high-choice media environment may increase already significant information inequalities as people (often affluent and highly educated) who are very interested in news consume more and more, and those less interested (often less affluent and with less formal education) may consume less and less as other offerings catch their attention, this bears more work it seems to me.

So, much interesting work being presented, some interesting absences, which presents opportunities for important research in the future.

UPDATE

People have asked for a break-down of the 34 percent categorized as “other” in the pie chart. Below is a bar chart where topics addressed by only one paper are collapsed into “other” but the remaining parts are broken out by topic. Note, as explained above, some of the categories above are already aggregates, e.g. “new journalistic practices” include work on bots, automated content, computational journalism, data journalism, VR, and newsroom use of audience analytics.

FoJ 34 percent

Professor of Political Communication

oxford-logoI’m happy and proud to share that I’ve been named Professor of Political Communication at the University of Oxford.

Titles are strange things. Entirely immaterial (“That and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee”) and at the same time deeply meaningful. Academic work is about being part of a community of inquiry, and titles are one of the ways in which our communities recognize valuable work.

That recognition means a lot to me. I am primarily driven by my own curiosity (and occasional contrarian impulses) and my individual professional and personal priorities, all of which are so well aligned with the mission of the work we do together at the Reuters Institute. But it makes me happy to see the work I have done on that basis recognized as valuable by others.

My core interest is in the important and imperfect social and political institutions that enable democracy and make it possible for people to be citizens.

I am interested in these institutions (with warts and all)—how they arise, what their preconditions are, what their implications are, and in how they change and sometimes disintegrate. Substantially, this has led me to study political campaigns, social movements, technology companies, and especially news media in a range of ways, drawing on theories and methods from political science, sociology, and media/communications research. (My appointment is in a department of politics, but I consider myself an interdisciplinary social scientist with a particular interest in news media and communication.) Because I want in real-world variation over time and across different contexts, I have pursued a fair amount of international, comparative work on the role of digital technology as part of processes of institutional and organizational change, especially in journalism and news media–often pushing back against the tendency in some quarters and some times to assume their implications are the same everywhere.

In line with my commitment to problem-oriented social science and my ambition to make the research I am involved in speak to some of the important issues of our time, I have prioritized engagement with relevant stakeholders in political life, the public sector, and private enterprise by publishing through both academic and non-academic channels, by engaging with journalists, and by speaking frequently at both academic and professional conferences and events all over the world.

I like to say that it is important for me that I can explain the value of what I do to my mom (a more demanding version of the proverbial man on the street), the people I study (ordinary people, journalists, technologists, political professionals), and to my academic colleagues (across the social science and beyond)—and the title of professor is one of the most tangible expressions of recognition that the latter community offers, and one I particularly appreciate because I know my interest in news media, my preference for interdisciplinary work, and my commitment to problem-oriented research and public engagement set me apart from many other social scientists who have different priorities—that these colleagues see the value of what I do is very encouraging.

To receive this recognition from the University of Oxford, with its 900+ year history of excellence and truly global reach—and as its first professor of political communication—is an extraordinary privilege and an honor I will try to live up to. I know I have gotten to where I am from a privileged starting point—I am a white man from a peaceful and prosperous country—but I also feel like I have travelled a long way, from the small town in the countryside I grew up in, as the first of my family to go to college, and as a migrant working in a second language for most of my adult life.

I try to show my gratitude to all the many people who mean so much for me and who help and support me in so many ways on a regular basis, but I would like to highlight a few here. (No names, you know who you are.) My wife and my family for their unflagging support despite the strange and often unintelligible nature of much of what I do. The community of faculty and fellow graduates of Columbia University from whom I have learned so much and who remain such an inspiration. A group of contemporaries from across the academic fields I traverse who are such models of academic professionalism and personal integrity and who continue to be both close friends and a source of intellectual stimulation (including the occasional vigorous disagreement). The many impassioned professionals from across journalism, the media world, the technology industry, and politics and policymaking who find time to talk to me about their work even as they are busy trying to do often very difficult things in an uncertain and rapidly changing environment. My Oxford colleagues and friends, from across the Department of Politics and International Relations, the School of Government, the Oxford Internet Institute, and Green Templeton College. And, especially, everyone at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism itself—the staff, researchers, journalists, and others who gather here make it a truly special place and one I am proud to be part of.

(Note: I will continue to work full-time as Director of Research at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.)

RISJ summer school underway

20170911_144625How can comparative qualitative research on journalism and news media help us understand and tackle the big issues of our time?

At our Reuters Institute Summer School we are trying to find out, with a great group – thanks for good discussion today on day one to participants Martha Palacios Dominguez, Jacob Nelson, Raul Ferrer Conill, Kiki De Bruin, David Cheruiyot, Julieta Brambila, Sandra Banjac, Ruben Arnoldo Gonzalez, Jennifer Henrichsen, Tim Neff, Laurens Lauer, Chang Zhang Matt Powers & Sandra Vera Zambrano.

Thanks also to the home team of Lucas Graves and Annika Seh, and sorry to miss Falk Hartig who was accepted for participation but couldn’t join us.

2017 Int’ Journal of Press/Politics Conference

IJPPI’m proud to present the 2017 International Journal of Press/Politics Conference, hosted September 27-29 by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford.

The conference hashtag will be #IJPP17.

The full program including abstracts is here [PDF], and an overview with titles and presenters is below–we will be covering many issues relevant for the International Journal of Press/Politic‘s mission: to advance our understanding of the relations between news media and politics in a global perspective.

With more than 60 researchers from almost 20 countries and a keynote by Talia Stroud, it will be a truly international event and it is one I really look forward to–the third installment of what I hope will be an annual event, with the best and most relevant papers submitted to the journal for later publication.

2017 INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PRESS/POLITICS CONFERENCE

CONFERENCE OVERVIEW

Thursday 28 September

PANEL 1A: Risk and Conflict Reporting

Towards a ‘reflexive’ turn in digital journalism research – cosmopolitan relational ‘loops’ as a model for assessing transnational ‘risk’ journalism: a case study from Pakistan

Ingrid Volkmer, Kasim Sharif and Andrea Carson

Conflict Framing in the News and Informal Political Discussions

Camilla Bjarnøe and David Hopmann

Terrorism and Climate Change: Two Global Phenomena Divided by A Common Professional Journalism

Hillel Nossek

Which Atrocities Matter? Investigating Determinants of News Coverage of Human Rights

Scott Maier

 

PANEL 1B: Online Media & Audience Behaviours

Who is Pulling the Cart in the Horse Race? Comparing News Media Agendas with User Agendas in Election Seasons

Jacob Ørmen and Casper Petersen

The role of the online press in the emergence and visibility of Local Publics in a municipal election in France

Franck Bousquet

No Spillover: A Longitudinal Analysis of the Effects of Political Communication Online and Off

Benjamin R. Warner and Michael W. Kearney

Media, Public Opinion, and Political Participation

Yossi David

 

PANEL 2A: Online Media & Contentious Politics

ICTs and Contentious Politics in the Digital Age: Towards a synthetic framework

Jun Liu

Fault in the language: Political rhetoric, partisan media and mass polarization on Facebook

Fawad Baig and Sehrish Mushtaq

The rejection of multicultural democracy on right-wing news websites: A comparative analysis of the agenda-building articulations of right wing alternative media movements in the US, Austria and Germany

Lea Hellmueller and Matthias Revers

Online newspapers as target of strategic user-generated content —Dealing with hate-speech, fake news and hidden propaganda.

Lena Frischlich, Svenja Boberg, and Thorsten Quandt

 

PANEL 2B: China in Local and International News

 International Politics: It’s the Economy, (Metaphorically). Metaphors of China in the Financial Press

Minyao Tang and Tianbo Xu

State Sovereignty or Freedom of Navigation: the Rhetoric Battle between China and the US for a Dominating Narrative in the Controversy over South China Sea.

Fan Min and Zhang Xiaomei

From CCTV to CGTN: An assessment of China’s Go global media strategy and ongoing development of its news operation

Jie Shao and James Stanyer

Adieu to Contra-News and Hegemonic Channels: Is the Multipolar World Order the Premise for a More Balanced News Flow?

Massimo Di Ricco

 

PANEL 3B: The case of the US Media System

Washington Reporters as “Beltway Insiders”: Space, Place, and Elitism

Nikki Usher and Scott Nover

From Liberal to Polarized Liberal? Contemporary US news in Hallin and Mancini’s typology of news systems

Efrat Nechushtai

Passion and Politics: Voters’ emotion, perceived candidate image, and decisions in 2016 US presidential election

Denis Wu and Renita Coleman

The hybrid media system in the 2016 US presidential election

Kelly Fincham

 

PANEL 3B: ‘Fake News’ and Media Trust

Conceptualizing ‘Fake News’ for Political Communication Research

Jana L. Egelhofer and Sophie Lecheler

Explaining Media Trust

Oliver Quiring, Schemer, Christian, Jackob, Nikolaus, Schultz, Tanjev & Ziegele, Marc

They won’t get fooled (again)? Exploring consumption of and trust to “alternative” online news media in the Czech Republic

Vaclav Stetka and Jaromir Mazak

A Study to Examine the Third-Person Effects of Fake News during the Presidential Election in South Korea.

Wi-Geun Kim, Thomas J. Johnson, and Joseph Yoo

 

Friday 29 September

PANEL 4A: Media in Hybrid and Authoritarian Regimes

Scaling Down: The Menu of Media Manipulation in Subnational Hybrid Regimes

J.A. Brambila

Reporting transitional justice: the issue of media bias in Serbian and Kenyan contexts

Aleksandra Krstić and Judith Lohne

The Journalisms of Islam:  Contending views in Muslim Southeast Asia

Janet Steele

Access Journalism, (Anonymous) Sources, and Authoritarian Regimes: Western Media Coverage of North Korea

Helen Cho

  

PANEL 4B: Comparative Perspectives on the 2016 US Election

The whole world is watching. A comparative study on how the US 2016 election was covered in the news.

Peter Van Aelst, Rens Vliegenthart, and Amber Boydstun

“Trumping” National Interests: Comparative Analysis of Chinese, Russian, and Mexican International News

Yin Wu, Larisa Doroshenko, Shreenita Ghosh, Xiaomei Sun, and Maria Guadalupe Herrera Villalobos

The “World Watches the US Election:” Comparing global media perspectives on the US Presidential Election

Randolph Kluver, Skye Cooley, and Robert Hinck

 

PANEL 5A: Populism and UK Politics

Personality politics in media coverage over time; the UK case 1992-2013

Inaki Sagarzazu, Ana Ines Langer, and Johannes Gruber

Media and political participation: fostering inclusive governance

Sophie Baskett

Brexit and the Political Value Space of Constituencies on Twitter

Marco Bastos, Dan Mercea, and Andrea Baronchelli

“We Need to Talk About Immigration”: Media Coverage of Immigration During the 2015 UK General Election and 2016 EU Referendum Campaigns

Martin Moore and Gordon Ramsay

 

PANEL 5B: Press Freedom and State-Media Relations

Destroying the Messenger: A Comparative Analysis of the Recent Political Attitude towards Press Freedom in Democratic Societies

Wiebke Lamer

The role of Vietnamese state-owned media in improving governance: The case study of a farmer who shot at the police

Tran Le Thuy

‘Undemocratic’ Representations of Democracy: Politics and the Political Economy of Media in India

Ruhi Khan and Danish Khan

The Press Coverage of Corruption in France, Italy and United Kingdom: Integrity Safekeeping or Penal Populism?

Roberto Mincigrucci and Anna Stanziano

 

PANEL 6A: Global News, Public Broadcasting and Comparative Research

How Media Ownership Matters for Public Service Orientation: A Comparison of Commercial, Civil Society, and Public Media in the U.S., Sweden, and France

Rodney Benson

Desperately Seeking Global News

Alexa Robertson

Dual Screening, Public Service Broadcasting, and Political Participation in Eight Western Democracies

Cristian Vaccari and Augusto Valeriani

Developing a cross-nationally comparative discourse approach to researching mediated political communication

Mats Ekström and Julie Firmstone

 

PANEL 6B: Political Elites and Political Communication

The performances of mainstream politicians: politics as usual?

Stephen Coleman and Julie Firmstone

What Can I Do For You?  MP-Constituent Interaction Beyond the Electoral Context

Nikki Soo

A Trojan Horse for Marketing? Solutions Journalism in the French Regional Press

Pauline Amiel and Matthew Powers

Rethinking journalist-politician relations in the age of post-truth politics. Strategies of de-legitimization

Arjen van Dalen

Call for Papers – special issue if IJPP on Populist (political) Communication

IJPP

Call for Papers – special issue on Populist Communication

Special issue editors: Toril Aalberg, Frank Esser, Carsten Reinemann, James Stanyer and Claes de Vreese

Focus

Populism is a feature of contemporary politics across the globe. However, the communicative aspects of populism have been underexplored or often ignored. Yet—in light of the current social, political, and economic turmoil, and of the changing media environment—the study of populist political communication has perhaps never been more important.

Systematic knowledge is sparse on questions related to populist actors as communicators, the role of the media, and the impact of populist communication strategies on citizens. This scarcity is surprising since the populist zeitgeist, as signaled by Mudde (2004) more than a decade ago, was in part seen to be caused by the media’s preference for, and receptivity toward, populist actors.

As argued in the recent book by Aalberg et al (2017), as a working definition of populism, it makes more sense to talk about degrees and intensity of populism rather than a dichotomy. Following the suggestion by Jagers and Walgrave (2007), we can distinguish various elements of populism. They identify complete populism which includes reference and appeals to the people, anti-elitism, and exclusion of outgroups. Excluding populism includes only reference and appeals to the people, and exclusion of outgroups, whereas anti-elitist populism includes reference and appeals to the people, and anti-elitism. Finally, empty populism includes only reference and appeals to the people. Their definition, along with Moffitt and Tormey‘s (2014, p.394) definition of populism as “political style, a repertoire of performative features which cuts across different political situations that are used to create political relations” are good starting points for scholars addressing populist communication specifically.

In this special issue we look for submissions that explore the relationship and interactions between key actors: (a) political parties, (b) different kinds of media including both media organizations and digital media, and (c) citizens. Many key questions remain in the study of populist communication: these concern (non-)mediated representation of populism, rhetorical style adopted by populists, and message impact. What emotional, cognitive, attitudinal, and behavioral effect does the communication of populists have on (different groups of) citizens? Can communication styles help explain the electoral success of populist actors? What role does the proliferation of social media make? How are populist actors represented in mainstream news media across countries? Are these conditions for populists’ success?

These are examples of questions that we hope the submissions for the special issue will address. We particularly welcome comparative designs. Submissions should emphasize their wider contribution and substantial implications in addition to presenting individual analyses of examples of populist communication.

Range of papers to be considered

The CfP welcomes papers focusing on one or more of these interactions. The special issue is intended to be international and if possible comparative in nature.

Timeline

Extended abstracts due (2 pages): October 1, 2017

Invited submissions due: November 1, 2017

Full papers due: February 1, 2018

Full papers will be invited to present at a special issue workshop, adjacent to COST Action conference, Madrid, April 2018. Partial funding for presenters will be available for a set of papers. The special issue editors will be at the conference and workshop and provide feedback.

Email submission of extended abstracts is submitted to: ijpppopulistcommunication@gmail.com.

Full paper submissions are handled though the journal’s online submission system. All submissions are due to external review and standard editorial decisions.

Please contact the special issue editors – Toril Aalberg, Frank Esser, Carsten Reinemann, James Stanyer and Claes de Vreese – with questions.