Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

ISSN: 2165-7912

Open Access

Local or Not? The Impact of Political System Factors on Media Election Coverage


Bengt Johansson and Erik Wettergren Mörtenberg

This study aims to analyze the extent to whichpolitical system factors influence media election coverage by investigating the local election press coverage in Norway and Sweden. According to Hallin and Mancini’s framework on media systems, both countries belong to the Democratic Corporatist Model. But despite these similarities there are differences between the politicaland media systems in the Nordic countries. One important distinction is when elections are held. In Sweden, elections to national, regional and local parliaments take place on the same day every fourth year. In Norway, local and regional elections are held in-between national elections in four-year cycles. The design of the study can be characterized as a most similar system design. Media system and the political system are similar, but when local/regional elections take place in relation to national elections are different. In line with theories of second-order elections, a number of hypotheses can be proposed, where national politics is supposed to be more influential in local election coverage in Norway compared with Sweden. This because research on second-order elections state that second order elections (such as local/regional elections) tend to be characterized as barometer- elections, as a poll, evaluating the national government and how the development of national economy develops. The empirical analyses are based on a content analysis executed on four local newspapers in Norway and Sweden in the local elections in 2007 (Norway) and 2006 (Sweden) during the last two weeks of the election campaigns.


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