Information and Arena: The Dual Function of the News Media for Political Elites

  • Peter Van Aelst
  • Stefaan Walgrave


How do individual politicians use the news media to reach their political goals? The authors argue that this question can be best addressed by using an actor-centered, functional approach. The chapter develops the “Information & Arena” model to distinguish two essential functions the mass media have for political elites. The media are a source of information and politicians can profit from the momentum generated by media information. The media also are an arena elites need access to in order to promote themselves and their issues. These two functions offer certain politicians a structural advantage over others and are relevant for the power struggle among political elites. A systematic functional account allows comparison of the role of the media across politicians and political systems.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Van Aelst
    • 1
  • Stefaan Walgrave
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium

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