British Politics

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 164–183 | Cite as

Reporting different second order elections: A comparative analysis of the 2009 and 2013 local and EU elections on public and commercial UK television news bulletins

Original Article


Drawing on a systematic content analysis, this article examines how far television news bulletins with different levels of public service obligations reported the EU and local elections in 2009 and the local elections in 2013. The aim is to compare coverage on the main evening terrestrial bulletins in the United Kingdom (the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5) during different types of second order campaigns and according to their regulatory responsibilities. Although UK citizens appear to value local above EU elections, the latter campaign was more extensively reported than the former on all broadcasters, with politicians sourced differently. Most striking was the market deficit of second order election news, notably Channel 5 – the broadcaster with the lightest public service obligations – containing no policy related stories. It was left to the BBC – the broadcaster with the strongest public service commitments – to deliver the most comprehensive and policy-orientated coverage.


second order elections media content analysis UK broadcasting public sphere 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, Cardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  2. 2.Cardiff Business School, Cardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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