Blessing or curse for advocacy? How news media attention helps advocacy groups to achieve their policy goals

Iskander De Bruycker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

This article asks whether and under what circumstances a presence in news media debates helps advocacy groups to achieve their policy goals in European Union (EU) legislative politics. Common wisdom holds that lobbyists eschew the public spotlight and prefer to influence policymaking from behind the scenes. This perception contrasts with the literature on media and interest groups, which typically conceives of media attention as a crucial commodity for interest groups to influence policy decisions. This article unites these seemingly contrasting stances by arguing that media attention can be both a blessing and a curse for advocacy. The central argument posited is that media attention may improve or reduce advocacy groups' chances of preference attainment depending on how advocacy groups frame their message in the news. The analyses draw from interviews with more than 200 policy practitioners and content analysis of 3,557 media statements connected to a sample of 125 EU policy proposals. The findings demonstrate that an advocacy group's media presence may improve preference attainment, but only when the advocacy group manages to frame its objectives in the news as aligned with the public interest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-126
Number of pages24
JournalPolitical Communication
Volume36
Issue number1
Early online date2 Nov 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • interest groups
  • media and politics
  • European Union politics
  • framing
  • POLITICAL PUBLIC-RELATIONS
  • COVERAGE
  • EU
  • STRATEGIES
  • SUCCESS
  • LOBBYISTS
  • SUPPORT
  • PARTIES
  • ACCESS
  • SPHERE

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