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IP 8: Populism and the news media

This project assumes that populism in political news can manifest itself in several forms. It thus distinguishes several reporting styles or news frames to establish how media organizations respond to populism or engage in it themselves. The aim of the project is to examine to what degree mass media carry, shape, or transform populist issues, frames, arguments and communication strategies.

To this end, it studies the new coverage on two issues that are particularly vulnerable to populism: immigration and labor policy. The project measures media input (communication by political actors) on the topics as well as media output (news) by different types of media organizations (TV, print, etc.). Special attention is given to the political and media structures which may favor or disfavor the emergence of various forms of populism. This will allow identifying different styles of populism that may arise under different structural conditions.

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Project leader:
Prof. Frank Esser, University of Zurich

Postdoctoral researcher:
Dr. Sven Engesser, University of Zurich

PhD students:
Florin Büchel, University of Zurich
Nicole Ernst, University of Zurich