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David N. Hopmann, Christian Elmelund-Præstekær, Erik Albæk, Rens Vliegenthart, and Claes H. de Vreese Party media agenda-setting: How parties influence election news coverage Party Politics, 18 (March, 2012) 173-191. [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol18/issue2/ ]

First paragraph:
While media scholars and political scientists have studied the process of agendasetting for more than four decades, there has been less focus on why some parties are more effective than others when it comes to influencing the issue agenda of the media. Such knowledge is important primarily because extant research shows that the media agenda has a substantial influence on which policy issues the public perceives as important (McCombs and Shaw, 1972; Weaver et al., 2004). Since party strategists know this, they try to influence media coverage (Asp, 1983; Brandenburg, 2003), and multiple studies indicate that parties can indeed have substantial influence over the media agenda (Brandenburg, 2002; Walgrave and van Aelst, 2006). Moreover, we know that voters associate different parties with different policy issues, which, in turn, may affect voting behaviour (Budge and Farlie, 1983). One important causal factor behind associating different parties with different issues is the extent to which parties are covered in the media in relation to the different issues (Walgrave and de Swert, 2007; Walgrave et al., 2009).

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1. Model of how parties influence their own and other parties' appearances on television news during election campaigns by publishing press releases
Table 1. Numbers of press releases in different issue categories by the parties during the 2007 campaign
Table 2. Parties running in the 2007 Danish national elections
Table 3. Influence on the agenda in evening news bulletins of the party agendas and vice versa; generalized least squares fixed-effects model
Table 4. Three sets of models on the effects on appearing on television evening news in relation to specific issues of publishing press releases on these issues
Figure 2. Effects on appearing on television evening news related to specific issues of publishing press releases on these issues moderated by the number of press releases by other parties

Last Paragraph:
In sum, we have shown that, during election times, parties have a substantial effect on the media agenda, but also why some parties appear to be more successful than others in setting the media agenda. The next steps are to compare our results with those of other countries across time and to include more detailed information on party communication and media content.

Last updated March 2012