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On Message
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On Message
Communicating the Campaign



May 1999 | 224 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
To what extent are the techniques of campaigning and media management critical to the outcome of modern elections? This book brings together a group of leading scholars to provide a comprehensive analysis of the role and impact of political communications during election campaigns. They set the context of election campaigning in Britain, and the methodology used to undertand media effects, review party strategies and resulting media coverage, and draw together evidence of the impact of the 1997 British General Election campaign, analyzing how far television and the press media influenced the public's civic engagement, agenda priorities, and party preferences.
 
PART ONE: CONTEXT
 
Theories of Political Communications
 
The Campaign Context
 
Understanding Media Effects
 
PART TWO: PROCESS
 
The Party Strategy
 
The News Agenda
 
The Public's Reaction
 
PART THREE: IMPACT
 
The Imapact On Civic Engagement
 
The Impact On the Public's Agenda
 
The Effects of Television News on Party Preferences
 
The Effects of Newspapers
 
Conclusions
The Impact of Political Communications

 

`The authors provide a most interesting discussion on the developments in political campaigning over the years... This new work develops both the core analysis of political campaigning in its broadest sense and specific British campaigning variables. Having seen most of these authors in action over the years, they can be most satisfied that their work over that time has paid off in such a useful book, which will no doubt form part of any discussion on political campaigning' - The Reformer

`On Message is the most innovative and comprehensive study of the effects of communications on British voting. It is the definitive guide to the new trends in campaign voting and the media' - Dennis Kavanagh, University of Liverpool

`Much has been written about the way parties and politicians run election campaigns, but far less on how voters respond to them. Now, for the first time, On Message lays bare the connections between parties, media and the public. Using original and imaginative research, Pippa Norris and her team have produced that rarity: a book that tells us something genuinely new and important about the nature of Britain's politics' - Peter Kellner, BBC Television

`At last, a genuinely multi-method study of political campaigning. On Message will be a lasting contribution to 'media-effects' research' - Shanto Iyengar, Stanford University

`This crisply-written book about Britain's 1997 General Election Campaign challenges a host of conventional beliefs about the significance of the communication strategies of the political parties, about the limited agenda-setting role of the mass media, and about the impact of the campaign on the political views of British voters. The study benefits from the collective insights of a team of exceptionally experienced researchers. Their sophisticated multi-method research design and apt comparisons capture the dynamic interplay among various political actors and settings with unusual clarity. Given the careful delineation of theoretical bases and judgmental criteria, this study is destined to become a model for excellence in campaign communication research' -

Doris Graber, University of Illinois, Chicago

"On Message integrates the study of parties, voters and media in a clear and original way. It is a notable advance in the analysis of election communications. The title could be a comment on the book itself' - Colin Seymour-Ure, University of Kent

`This is a remarkably ambitious and authoritative study of party strategies, media roles and electoral reactions in Britain's 1997 General Election campaign. The findings are well situated in diverse theories of media effects and the emerging conditions of a post-modern political communication system. The book deserves recognition among the classics of campaign communication research' - Jay Blumler, University of Leeds

`Here researchers focus on the influence of news media on the campaign; the importance of strategic communications and electoral success; and the effect of both on the long term learning, mobilazation and persuasion of voters. In this detailed campaign study, the authors use a combination of research methods: content analysis of news and party messages; public opinion survey analysis, including four-wave panel and cross sectional BES surveys and aggregate poll trends; and an experimental study of telecision news.' - International Journal of Public Opinion Research

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