Colloquium: Rinke on Election Coverage

eikeThe news coverage of election campaigns is one of the most studied areas of political communication and has very much become a fixture of the field. Not surprisingly, certain recurring features of such coverage have been taken for granted and assigned rather undisputed democratic values.

On Nov. 29, Eike Rinke will present a study that re-assesses two staples of election news coverage: the familiar horse-race frame and the less-often investigated contestation frame.

In this study, an analysis of television news coverage of the German 2009 federal election campaign was used to determine the deliberative value of these two journalistic devices for presenting elections to viewers.

The colloquium begins at 3:30 p.m. in CMU 126.

Rinke begins by introducing normative assessment as a recently developed, distinct research procedure (Althaus, forthcoming) before presenting its application to horse-race and contestation coverage. Assessment results show consistently that mediated democratic deliberation suffers from horse-race framing while contestation frames make ambivalent contributions. Rinke concludes by discussing more generally how communication researchers can benefit from engaging systematically in normative assessments.

Eike Mark Rinke is a doctoral candidate and research associate in the Department of Media and Communication Studies at the University of Mannheim, Germany. His research interests center on the normative and empirical aspects of mediated communication in democratic life, particularly as they relate to issues of deliberation. His dissertation project, funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), involves a comparison of television news’ contributions to mediated deliberation in the U.S. and Germany and the individual-level effects of this content. With a Fulbright-funded M.A. from George Washington University, he currently is spending the second of two quarters as a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Communication.