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Making Sense of Media and Politics

Five Principles in Political Communication

By Gadi Wolfsfeld

Routledge – 2011 – 150 pages

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  • Add to CartPaperback: $49.95
    978-0-415-88523-2
    February 10th 2011
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    978-0-415-88522-5
    February 9th 2011

Description

Politics is above all a contest, and the news media are the central arena for viewing that competition. One of the central concerns of political communication has to do with the myriad ways in which politics has an impact on the news media and the equally diverse ways in which the media influences politics. Both of these aspects in turn weigh heavily on the effects such political communication has on mass citizens.

In Making Sense of Media and Politics, Gadi Wolfsfeld introduces readers to the most important concepts that serve as a framework for examining the interrelationship of media and politics:

  • political power can usually be translated into power over the news media
  • when authorities lose control over the political environment they also lose control over the news
  • there is no such thing as objective journalism (nor can there be)
  • the media are dedicated more than anything else to telling a good story
  • the most important effects of the news media on citizens tend to be unintentional and unnoticed.

By identifying these five key principles of political communication, the author examines those who package and send political messages, those who transform political messages into news, and the effect all this has on citizens. The result is a brief, engaging guide to help make sense of the wider world of media and politics and an essential companion to more in-depths studies of the field.

Reviews

"Making Sense of Media and Politics will appeal to many interested in gaining a basic but thorough understanding of the powerful role that media has in shaping political outcomes. Wolfsfeld constructs strong arguments to sustain his five principles, and encourages critical thinking among the readers in order to become more sophisticated consumers of news." —Andreea Moise, British Politics and Policy at LSE, December 2011

"Authored by one of the world’s leading political communication scholars, Making Sense of Media and Politics presents an ideal blend of theory, research and argument, and does so in a way that is both sophisticated and accessible. Organized around five core and interrelated principles regarding the role of political elites, journalists, and the public, this book would serve well as either the central text in introductory political communication courses or as a supplement to more general courses in politics, journalism, and media studies." —Michael X. Delli Carpini, University of Pennsylvania

"Concise, clear and conversational, this political communication primer is an insightful and engaging introduction to an important field of study." —Kathleen Hall Jamieson, University of Pennsylvania.

"This lively and original synthesis of the research literature in political communication is at once a brilliant theoretical statement and a downright fun read. Wolfsfeld’s five basic principles about politics and the news don’t just summarize what we know. They distill the essential elements of how the system works into a new theoretical perspective that spells out why the most important things to understand about politics and the media are not what we expect them to be. This small book is destined for greatness. If I were stuck on a desert island with a single book about political communication as my only possession, I’d want it to be this one." —Scott Althaus, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

"In Making Sense of Media and Politics, Gadi Wolfsfeld demystifies a complex story without jargon. He enlivens his account with wit and fresh, up-to-date examples. This is the ideal text for courses on Media and Society." —William Gamson, Boston College

"Wolfsfeld speaks authoritatively and avuncularly to how citizens can better understand the interactions between media and politics. Drawing from prominent examples around the world—from Hurricane Katrina to the Oslo Accords—Making Sense of Media and Politics effectively illustrates the macro- and micro-level implications of today's nuanced media landscape. Whether it is the faithful print-newspaper reader or the web enthusiast, Wolfsfeld's engaging style is sure to stimulate readers' interest in more carefully scrutinizing how the media shape our political lives."

Patricia Moy, University of Washington

Contents

Part I: Political Actors Compete Over the News Media 1. Political Power and Power Over the Media 2. Political Control and Media Independence Part II: Turning Politics Into News 3. No Such Thing as Objective News 4. Telling a Good Story Part III: Media Effects 5. The Media Get You When You’re Not Paying Attention

Author Bio

Gadi Wolfsfeld is Professor in the departments of political science and communication at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He also holds the Danny Arnold Chair in Communication. He is former chair of the political communication section of the American Political Science Association. Dr. Wolfsfeld is the author of Media and the Path to Peace and Media and Political Conflict: News from the Middle East, as well as editor of Political Communication in a New Era: A Cross-National Perspective.

Name: Making Sense of Media and Politics: Five Principles in Political Communication (Paperback)Routledge 
Description: By Gadi Wolfsfeld. Politics is above all a contest, and the news media are the central arena for viewing that competition. One of the central concerns of political communication has to do with the myriad ways in which politics has an impact on the news media and the...
Categories: Politics & the Media, Political Communication, Political Communication, Mass Media & Communication, Journalism