Media as policy makers
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Media as Policy Makers. Overview. Aims of Investigative Journalism Investigative Models Agenda Building. Aims of Investigative Journalism. Three primary objectives: Generate an exciting story that appeals to mass audience Secure positive reviews/prestige from journalistic profession

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Overview l.jpg

  • Aims of Investigative Journalism

  • Investigative Models

  • Agenda Building

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Aims of Investigative Journalism

  • Three primary objectives:

    • Generate an exciting story that appeals to mass audience

    • Secure positive reviews/prestige from journalistic profession

    • Trigger political action

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Aims of Investigative Journalism

  • Investigative journalism fits within the “social responsiblity” school of journalism

  • Social responsibility is flexible, though, and journalists (and their corporate sponsors) have wide latitude in determining and defining the relevant actors, institutions, and forces in society

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Aims of Invetigative Journalism

  • Resources to accomplish this include:

    • News stories

    • Documentaries

    • Docudramas

    • Themed “Entertainment” programming

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Investigative Models

  • Investigative journalism has three main avenues to influencing public policy:

    • Generating public reaction which in turn forces political leaders to act

    • Arouse political elites to take action to remedy the problem and prevent wider public criticism

    • Collaborate with one or more government agency to coordinate stories and supportive political activities

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Classic “Muckracking” Model






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Investigative Models

  • Media generated public pressure is rarely sufficiently strong to produce enough pressure on political leadership to make policy changes

  • Producing changes in public policy frequently requires moving beyond media-generated public pressure

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Investigative Models

  • For this reason, we frequently find journalists collaborating directly with public officials to together manipulate public opinion to acquiece to policy changes or to pressure recalcitrant political actors to change policy

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Leaping Impact Model






Note that we’ve moved the policy initiative andthe public pressure steps

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Investigative Models

  • Finally, sometimes the point of the investigation is not to generate policy change so much as to call public attention to a social or political issue

  • Sometimes political leaders fail to respond to the investigation, hoping public attention wanes and dissipates before reform necessary

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Trucated Model




Note: the policy initative and policy consequencesteps are omitted

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  • Note the relatively minor role of public opinion in all of this

  • Why is public opinion relatively less important?

  • Why is the media relatively unsuccessful in rousing public opinion in a meaningful way?

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Agenda Building

  • Media can sometimes create the climate that helps shape political action

  • Journalists can shape the public agenda by focusing attention on a story and building the idea that a particular issue is important and needs public attention

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Agenda Building

  • Media can:

    • “construct climate” for public policy

    • nourish social movements and interest groups