Journalism, representation and the public sphere

Title chapter:Bringing qualities back in. Towards a new analytical approach for examining the transnationalization of public spheres
Author:Alexandra Polownikow
Keywords: transnationalization, public sphere, media quality, media coverage, quantitative content analysis
Abstract:In the article, I develop a normative argumentation and an analytical concept to further the study of transnationalization of the public sphere by incorporating media content qualities. With the ongoing expansion of politics beyond national borders, there has been a debate about its 'public sphere deficit'. As a response, the concept of transnationalization of the national public sphere has been introduced: With national media covering international and transnational politics, the public can inform itself and potentially participate in discussions on these issues. So far, research has mainly measured the extent of transnational media coverage. However, this approach for empirical examination of the transnationalization of public spheres poses a contradiction to its critical 'public sphere deficit' rationale and the normative basis of public sphere theory. To resolve this discrepancy, I suggest the incorporation of media content qualities into transnationalization research. Therefore I discuss the concept of media quality in the context of public sphere theory and examine the few studies that have already dealt with the quality of transnational media coverage. On this basis I develop my own qualities concept. And finally, to investigate these qualities, I outline the research design for a quantitative content analysis. Here the juxtaposition of transnational with national media coverage marks the main analytical contribution, since national coverage can serve as a benchmark for evaluation. This new approach constitutes a good starting point for further normative discussion on the transnationalization of the public spheres.
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