Qualitative Political Communication| Backstage Media-Political Elite Negotiations: The Failure and Success of Government Pitch

Tine Ustad Figenschou, Kjersti Thorbjørnsrud


Media pressure on government and public administration has intensified radically in recent years. This article analyzes the behind-the-scenes processes of a strategic government pitch that aims to push the success and core values of Norwegian immigration policies in the media. The study brings attention to the complex and often conflicting demands on government officials engaged in proactive media strategies. It examines how the officials adapt to the news media logic, perceive the competition with other strategic actors, and simultaneously pay regard to the constraints inherent in a bureaucratic ethos. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, the article illuminates how bureaucrats legitimize proactive strategies; the risks involved; and how these strategies modify the distinctive roles of political leaders and civil servants, challenging traditional bureaucratic values such as impartiality, neutrality, and loyalty.


government–media relations, public administration, mediatization, immigration news, ethnography

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