Election special : New Zealand election campaigns in the newspaper, The New Zealand herald, 1946-2002
This thesis investigates the changing campaign coverage from 1946 to 2002, in The New Zealand Herald (The Herald), New Zealand's most-read newspaper. From tracking the percentage of news coverage devoted to parties and leaders, it is evident that campaign coverage in The Herald has changed significantly since 1946, with coverage concentrating on leadership and national issues over local candidates and local campaign meetings. Combined, these trends toward presidentialisation and nationalisation reflect changing campaigning styles from word-of-mouth, meeting-based campaigns in electorates to televised, national campaigns where the focus is on policies of national rather than local interest. There is evidence of political partisanship in The Herald in favour of the National party, in both the amount of coverage and the editorials. However, any imbalance in volume of coverage towards the National party gradually decreased over time. There has also been a presidentialisation of coverage, with election coverage now focusing more on leaders of parties, rather than party candidates. This trend towards presidentialisation has been accompanied by an increase in 'hoopla' and 'horse-race' news over politically substantive news. Television may be one reason behind increased focus on leaders, and also serves to explain why the decline in coverage of local candidate meetings and local issues in contrast to an increase of coverage in national issues. Thus, final conclusions drawn from this thesis conclude that nationalisation of campaign coverage has occurred and the newspaper coverage is now more about the horse race than the political substance of the issues.
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Political Studies
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis