The Mediatization of Second-Order Elections and Party Launches: UK Television News Reporting of the 2014 European Union Campaign

Stephen Cushion, Richard Thomas, Oliver Ellis


Using the United Kingdom as a case study to explore the degree to which news about a second-order election is mediatized, this comparative content analysis examines television news coverage of the 2014 European Union elections. Evidence of mediatization was stronger on the most commercially driven bulletins, with an overwhelming emphasis on the game frame and a more interpretive approach than the most public service–orientated broadcaster (the BBC). However, qualitative analysis revealed that the BBC pursued a more mediatized form of journalism. Developing a close textual analysis of how broadcasters reported party campaign launches—representing what we call key “mediatized moments”—we argue that a more qualitative approach to assessing media and political logics can complement comparative quantitative studies about mediatized politics.


second-order elections, mediatization, media systems, content analysis

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