New DCU funded research has found that the Irish media's coverage of the 2011 general election showed policy issues predominating over the treatment of politics as a game between winners and losers.
Preliminary findings from the research were presented at a seminar this week in the Houses of the Oireachtas.
The study based on a content analysis of 12 national newspapers during the 2011 general election showed that there were significant differences between how these newspapers covered the campaign.
The project was led by Dr. Eoin O'Malley and Dr. Iain McMenamin from the School of Law & Government, and Dr. Kevin Rafter and Dr. Roddy Flynn from the School of Communications.
The study clearly demonstrated is there was considerable variation in newspaper coverage during the 2011 general election. The analysis showed a preponderance towards game content in the Sunday tabloids followed by the Sunday broadsheets. The daily tabloids in turn trailed the daily broadsheets.
This Irish study builds on comparable research in a number of other countries including Sweden, Belgium, Spain and the United States. Most of these other studies concluded the media has a preference for the game–frame content in election coverage.
The differences between these countries are wide – although not as wide as the variation between the Irish newspapers – and Ireland emerged as the only country where the issue frame predominates over the game frame.
The DCU study also involved analysis of broadcast output during the 2011 election campaign and radio and television results – along with the newspaper findings – will be published in several articles in international academic journals.
Funding for the study was provided by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.