Media and Bureaucratic Reputation: Exploring Media Biases in the Coverage of Public Agencies

  • Jan BoonEmail author
  • Heidi Houlberg Salomonsen
  • Koen Verhoest
  • Mette Østergaard Pedersen
Part of the Executive Politics and Governance book series (EXPOLGOV)


How agencies perceive, process, and prioritize multiple (potentially conflicting) audiences’ expectations of components of their reputations is a core interest of bureaucratic reputation theorists. Agencies must choose which dimension(s) to stress towards specific audiences, a process referred to as ‘prioritizing’. Boon, Salomonsen, Verhoest, and Pedersen challenge a central argument of contemporary bureaucratic reputation theory, namely that prioritizing assumes government agencies to be rational, politically conscious organizations with incentives to avoid reputational damages and political sanctions. The chapter tests the claim that agency behaviour is (at least to some extent) driven by the distinctive logic of the media rather than by assessments of the relative strength of different dimensions of an agency’s reputation that are subjected to threats, or by the nature of the agency’s task.


Bureaucratic reputation Media coverage Prioritizing Velcro effect Mediatization Agencies 



We thank Stefan Boye for his help with the statistical analyses for this chapter. We also thank Martin Moos for collecting the data. The research is part of the Rep Gov project, funded by the Danish Reserach Council for Independent Reserach.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Boon
    • 1
    Email author
  • Heidi Houlberg Salomonsen
    • 2
  • Koen Verhoest
    • 1
  • Mette Østergaard Pedersen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  2. 2.Department of ManagementAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark

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