Why are newspapers important? Circulation The Sun – 2.5 million Daily Mail – 2 million The Telegraph – 578,774 The Guardian – 215,998 They are not impartial! They are privately owned and tend to reflect the views of the owners.
How influential is The Sun? They supported the Tories in 1992 and they won despite Labour being favourites – ‘It’s The Sun Wot Won It’. They moved back to Labour in 1997 and they won, maintaining power for 13 years. They backed the Tory‟s in 2010 with Labour‟s lost it. We know what happened there! Is The Sun really that influential or do they simply know when the time is right to switch allegiance? Do they influence voters or do they take into account the views of their readership and adapt?
Rupert Murdoch Founder of News Corporation World‟s 3rd biggest media organisation They own The Sun, BSkyB and many, many others! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_Corporation
Newspaper Readership & SocialClass (The „Tory-graph)– Only 5% of the readership is from Social Class DE 32% of the readership are from Social Class DE 12% of the readership are from Social Class AB However, the quality broadsheets tend to be more balanced a they will lose credibility with their readership if they are too biased. Their readership tends to be more educated.
Voting by NewspaperReadershiphttp://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/poll.aspx?oItemId=2476&view=wide
Daily Mirror The turnout for Daily Mirror readership was 68%. 16% voted Tory 59% voted Labour
Daily Telegraph The turnout for Daily Telegraph readership was 81%. 70% voted Tory 7% voted Labour
So, what about The Sun? The turnout for readers of the Sun was 57%. 43% voted Tory 28% voted Labour
How influential are newspapersreally? There are two views about the importance of newspapers: the Agenda Setting View and the Reinforcement View. The Agenda Setting Theory suggests that the media – especially newspapers – can force certain issues onto the political agenda (i.e. make the parties discuss them and give views on them) by having prominent stories or campaigns about them. The Reinforcement Theory says that people are not really influenced by the paper they read but in fact they choose – or swap to – a paper which expresses views the reader already agrees with – i.e. the paper is just „reinforcing‟ already held views.
There are several points to bear in mind whenconsidering just how important or influential thepress can be: 1 in 3 voters does not read a national newspaper at all. newspaper readers are not loyal – they will switch papers according to various factors including „scoops‟, price cuts, sport coverage etc. So is there really such a thing as The Sun Reader? Between 1992 and 1997, 1 in 3 readers either swapped papers or stopped reading them altogether. Because fewer and fewer people buy a paper, the press are much more likely to follow the opinion of their readers than to change it. They need the customers! With the growth of multi channel TV including 24 hour news channels, newspapers are in long term decline and are not the main source of „political‟ news. According to CREST (The Centre for Research into Elections and Social Trends), “Newspapers have relatively little influence on the outcome of elections”.
How important is Televisionin an election? Party Political Broadcasts Leadership Debates
Key Statistics The average person in the UK watches 22.5 hours of TV each week, therefore it‟s a platform for political parties to reach the electorate. 51% of adults consider television to be their main source of political information.
PARTY POLITICAL/ ELECTIONBROADCASTS Television, unlike newspapers, must be balanced and impartial giving equal access and coverage to each of the political parties HOWEVER Approximately, 67% of people surveyed felt that TV broadcasts had little impact on their decision. 29% said it was not at all important. This is despite it being the most expensive form of advertising used by political parties. In twenty years time, will we still be watching Party Political Broadcasts as we currently know them?
Leadership Debates In the run up to the 2010 general election there was a series of three debates between the leaders of the three main parties: Gordon Brown (Lab); David Cameron (Cons) and Nick Clegg (Lib Dem). They were the first such debates to be broadcast live in the run-up to a UK election. The first half of each debate focused on a particular theme (domestic, international and economic affairs), before general issues were discussed. The questions were not disclosed to the leaders before the debate.
The Internet It was predicted that the Internet would have a significant impact on the outcome of the 2010 Election. http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/rorycellanjones/20 10/05/so_was_it_an_internet_election.html Click on and read the blog above.
So how did they use the internet? Official Website Stealth Sites (Lib Dems set one up a false Party known as „Labservative‟) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R52pqznRNHY Email – regular updates from key Party members. Online Fundraising – Lib Dems reportedly raised £500,000. Strategies to direct web traffic – Tories at one point had a video linked to a search for Gordon Brown on youtube. www.mydavidcameron.com Facebook, Twitter and blogging
TasksNewspapers1. Why might newspapers be able to influence voting behaviour in the UK?2. In what way does political coverage by tabloids and broadsheets differ?3. How could „The Sun‟ claim to have had an impact on voting behaviour?4. Make a note of newspapers that tend to maintain party support and those who fluctuate.5. What evidence is there to suggest a link between social class and newspaper?6. Explain the relationship between social class, newspapers and turnout.
Television1. What do you think political parties see television as a useful tool in an election campaign?2. Television can have a hugely positive impact on voting behaviour for political parties. Provide arguments for and against this view.3. Summarise the influence of the Leadership Debates. Internet1. In what way did political parties utilise the internet?2. Read the blog on Slide 23.3. Summarise the impact of the internet on the 2010 General Election. Was it the Internet Election that people predicted? Why?