Reporting on Political Acquaintances: Personal Interactions Between Political Journalists and Politicians as a Determinant of Media Coverage

Emma S. van der Goot, Toni G.L.A. van der Meer, Rens Vliegenthart


To explain which politicians make it into the news, this study considers the influence of the personal interactions between political journalists and politicians. While theoretically plausible, there is little empirical evidence that the personal interactions between reporters and politicians are associated with news content. This study draws on a survey of political journalists combined with a content analysis of their newspaper articles to analyze how personal interactions with politicians and the background characteristics of journalists relate to their news-making. Overall, it is found that journalists report more often and more positively about politicians they have personal contact with and about those politicians who hold similar political views. Hence, personal interactions with journalists can be useful for politicians to attract (positive) media coverage.


media coverage, journalists, politician-journalist contact

Full Text: