Advertisement

Texts as Data II: Media Content Analysis

  • Corinne Schweizer
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter discusses media content analysis, a method that applies quantitative and qualitative procedures to make inferences from text. Its main advantages are that it is unobtrusive, and that there is a plethora of media content available and accessible for research. The main challenge of the method is to develop a research design that promises valid inferences from text (meaning that ‘it captures what it sets out to capture’). Ignoring or not addressing such issues is the main reason for ethical concern. This chapter is based on the assumption that aside from more common methods like document analysis and interviews, media content analysis is also a valuable option for the study of media and communication policy. On the one hand, the method can grasp the public discourse about issues of media and communication policy. On the other hand, the data gathered by using this method offers much-needed evidence for policy-making. This chapter provides an overview on the steps of preparing and conducting a media content analysis, from the research design and sampling, to the process of coding, and the analysis of data. Two studies that employed media content analysis to investigate a topic relevant for media and communication policy are used as illustration. They have been selected because they clearly show the difference between the two main paradigmatic approaches to media content analysis: Von Pape, Trepte and Mothes’ (European Journal of Communication 32: 189–207, 2017) quantitative study follows the social science norm of being rigorously systematic, when exploring the discourse on privacy and new communication technology in Germany’s most popular and relevant newspapers and magazines. Young (Media International Australia 157: 79–90, 2015), in contrast, follows the humanities’ tradition of subjective interpretation, when examining the media policy reporting about the press council in Australia’s only national newspaper The Australian. Both approaches are valuable, and are ideally being used complementary, because they fill each others’ blind spots.

References

  1. Birkland, T. A. (2007). Agenda setting in public policy. In F. Fischer (Ed.), Handbook of public policy analysis: Theory, politics, and methods (pp. 63–78). Bocca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  2. Boréus, K., & Bergström, G. (2017). Analyzing text and discourse: Eight approaches for the social sciences. Los Angeles: Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Duncan, J., & Reid, J. (2013). Toward a measurement tool for the monitoring of media diversity and pluralism in South Africa: A public-centred approach. Communication, 39(4), 483–500.Google Scholar
  4. Freedman, D. (2008). The politics of media policy. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  5. George, L. (2007). What’s fit to print: The effect of ownership concentration on product variety in daily newspaper markets. Information Economics and Policy, 19(3–4), 285–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gilens, M., & Hertzman, C. (2000). Corporate ownership and news bias: Newspaper coverage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The Journal of Politics, 62(2), 369–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hornig Priest, S. (2010). Doing media research: An introduction. Los Angeles: Sage.Google Scholar
  8. Humprecht, E., & Esser, F. (2017). Diversity in online news: On the importance of ownership types and media system types. Journalism Studies, 1–23. https://doi-org.ezproxy.uzh.ch/10.1080/1461670X.2017.1308229.
  9. Jann, W., & Wegrich, K. (2007). Theories of the policy cycle. In F. Fischer (Ed.), Handbook of public policy analysis: Theory, politics, and methods. Bocca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  10. Jarren, O. (1998). Medienpolitische Kommunikation. In O. Jarren, U. Sarcinelli, & U. Saxer (Eds.), Politische Kommunikation in der demokratischen Gesellschaft (pp. 616–629). Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Just, N., & Puppis, M. (2012). Introduction. In N. Just & M. Puppis (Eds.), Trends in communication policy research: New theories, methods and subjects (pp. 11–29). Bristol; Chicago: Intellect.Google Scholar
  12. Kemner, B., Scherer, H., & Weinacht, S. (2008). Unter der Tarnkappe. Der Einsatz «volatiler Themen» und «opportuner Zeugen» in der Berichterstattung zum Übernachmeversuch der ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG durch den Springer Verlag. Publizistik, 53(1), 65–84.Google Scholar
  13. Krippendorff, K. (2013). Content analysis: An introduction to its methodology (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks; London; and New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  14. Löblich, M. (2011). Frames in der medienpolitischen Öffentlichkeit. Die Presseberichterstattung über den 12. Rundfunkänderungsstaatsvertrag. Publizistik, 56(4), 423–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. von Pape, T., Trepte, S., & Mothes, C. (2017). Privacy by disaster? Press coverage of privacy and digital technology. European Journal of Communication, 32(3), 189–207.Google Scholar
  16. Riffe, D., Lacy, S., & Fico, F. G. (2005). Analyzing media messages: Using quantitative content analysis in research. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  17. Schreier, M. (2012). Qualitative content analysis in practice. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  18. Smith, R. C., & Tambini, D. (2012). Measuring media plurality in the United Kingdom: Policy choices and regulatory challenges. Journal of Media Law, 4(1), 35–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Tremayne, M. (2007). Blogging, citizenship, and the future of media. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Weber, R. P. (1990). Basic content analysis. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Wirth, W., & Kolb, S. (2012). Securing equivalence: Problems and solutions. In F. Esser & T. Hanitzsch (Eds.), Handbook of comparative communication research (pp. 469–485). New York and Abington: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  22. Young, S. (2015). Sending a message: The Australian’s reporting of media policy. Media International Australia, 157(1), 79–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Further Reading

  1. Carlson, M. (2017). Facebook in the news: Social media, journalism, and public responsibility following the 2916 trending topics controversy. Digital Journalism, 6(1), 4–29. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2017.1298044.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Greenberg, J., & Hier, S. (2009). CCTV surveillance and the poverty of media discourse: A content analysis of Canadian newspaper coverage. Canadian Journal of Communication, 34(3), 461–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Martins, N., Weaver, A. J., Yeshua-Katz, D., Lewis, N. H., Tyree, N. E., & Jensen, J. D. (2013). A content analysis of print news coverage of media violence and aggression research. Journal of Communication, 63(6), 1070–1087.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Quail, C., & Larabie, C. (2010). Net neutrality: Media discourse and public perception. Global Media Journal—Canadian Edition, 3(1), 31–50.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Corinne Schweizer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Communication Science and Media ResearchUniversity of ZurichZürichSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations