Danse Macabre

Danse macabre: politicians, journalists and the complicated rumba of relationships
Karen Ross – 2010 – International Journal of Press/Politics – 15(3): 272-295

Abstract: This study aimed to explore the ways politicians characterize and think about the relationships they sustain with journalists, using a case study approach that focuses on the views and attitudes of New Zealand MPs towards members of the Press Gallery and, to a lesser extent, their local and regional news media. Undertaken over a twenty-four-month period, with two fieldwork phases, 62 of 121 MPs were interviewed. The broad findings suggest that MPs are relatively sanguine about their media relationships, recognizing their symbiotic nature, but clear differences emerged in terms of the complexity and friendliness of these relationships. Those differences can be accounted for primarily by way of personal style and preferences, on one hand, and party status and position, on the other: factors such as gender (either of the politician or the journalist) were not significant as determinants of difference, although women were more likely to characterize their relationships as “friendly” compared with men, who tended to use more neutral language such as “collegial.” 

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