Rules of Political Journalism

Mads Hee & Camilla Huniche

Student thesis: Master thesis


The thesis Rules of Political Journalism investigates how political journalism is constituted and how it in consequence structures the possible field of political journalists and politicians. The theoretical background of the thesis is Michel Foucault’s theoretical perspective on relations between power, knowledge and subjects; how discourses encircle social practices and further more processes and structures the possible field of action of others.
In order to investigate the constitutive conditions of political journalism a 1.000 articles of political journalism, from eleven different Danish national newspapers has been analyzed. The analysis contributes to gain a perspective on how systems of knowledge are influencing practice and how the rationality of political journalism determines ‘the good political story’. Eight interviews with four political journalists and four politicians from the Danish Parliament is included and analyzed in the thesis in order to investigate, the rules of discourse that effects and structures the possible field of journalists and politicians. The results of the thesis are constructing a fact, that points out how knowledge of political journalism is constituted by critique, conflict, consequences of politics, process and indignation. The rationality of political journalism values political power in the understanding of parliamentary majority and hierarchy and therefore becomes very determining for political journalist’s field of interest. This lead to a certain privilege of speech to powerful politicians so that non-powerful politicians must practice other strategies to make themselves and their politics interesting to political journalism.
The results of the analysis are discussed to finish the thesis. The discussion takes its theoretical background in Slavoj Zizeks criticism of ideology and on how the practice of political journalism sustains through an ideological disidentification where subject’s passivity and distance to their own actions makes it possible for them to enter a practice in which they cannot identify themselves. Furthermore, the thesis is put in perspective in inspiration of Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau which suggests, that a serious lack of political conflict in journalism and politics contributes to a non-political form of the political. Furthermore, it points out, that this will lead to mistrust in the relation between the main population and the politicians and journalists.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages168