Who builds the media agenda? Actors’ influence over German newspaper coverage of climate change

Gärtner, Lea

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-643362
Document Type: Doctoral dissertation
Year of publication: 2023
Place of publication: Mannheim
University: Universität Mannheim
Evaluator: Schoen, Harald
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Social Sciences > Politische Wissenschaft, Politische Psychologie (Schoen 2014-)
License: CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Subject: 320 Political science
Keywords (English): agenda-building , actor-centric , context conditions , newspaper coverage , climate change , soft cosine similarity , automated text analysis
Abstract: As the meaning of political issues is discursively constructed, understanding which actors are most successful at shaping public perceptions of political issues is critical to comprehend the balance of power within democratic societies. Pursuing an actor-centric approach, this dissertation develops an integrated theoretical framework of ten individual-level factors that explain the ability of four broad actor groups to shape public perceptions by pushing their issues and perspectives onto the media agenda under different conditions. I test this framework on the German climate change debate, using automated text analysis to examine the visibility of 960 actors in over 40,000 newspaper articles published in German quality dailies between 1976 and 2020 and compare the content of over 9,000 press materials released by the most visible actors between 2017 and 2020 to the concurrent newspaper coverage. The findings confirm that the considered factors influence actors’ ability to build the media agenda.

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