Intermedia Agenda Setting in Personalized Campaigns: How News Media Influence the Importance of Leaders


This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Elsevier via the DOI in this record.The growing personalization of elections and the increased focus of media campaign coverage on party leaders is well-established in political science research. However, despite its importance for understanding these developments, intermedia party leader agenda setting has received little academic attention. Using extensive news media content data from the 2015 UK General Election, this paper examines the dynamics of intermedia agenda setting, assessing whether, and to what extent, the volume and tone of leaders’ media coverage flows between different platforms and outlets. Our analysis provides evidence of reciprocal influence between television, newspapers and radio. Their interactions, however, are complex and contingent on the characteristics and identity of both party leaders and media outlets. Altogether, our findings reveal no systematic convergence on the salience and tone of leaders’ news coverage, and cast doubts on the ability of the media to act as an independent force in personalizing electoral campaigns.This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council ES/M010775/1 “Media in Context and the 2015 General Election: How Traditional and Social Media Shape Elections and Governing.

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This paper was published in Open Research Exeter.

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