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Political Media Content, Quality Criteria in

Lutz M. Hagen


Media content is usually considered “political” if it refers to current events and issues, to political institutions or actors, as well as to the public discourse among these actors (→  Political Discourse ). If the term “quality” is used to speak of more than just a trait, it refers to a trait that is desired according to some standard or norm. In this sense, the quality of political media content refers to the degree to which this content fulfills normative requirements. There are many sources of norms or standards for media content, resulting in a broad variety of criteria by which content may be assessed. Standards mostly pertain to the media's function of providing information and orientation and to news content (→  news ; Political News ; Uses and Gratifications ). The core of those standards is formed by professional theory and practice of journalism (→  Ethics in Journalism ; Fairness Doctrine ; Standards of News ). Many quality criteria are derived from the intention to best serve media consumers’ individual orientation needs. Others, possibly coinciding, are derived from the notion of a →  public interest that the media should serve. A particular field of empirical media research has established itself, which aims at assessing the quality of →  media performance . Serving the public interest may in itself be considered a political quality since it involves debate ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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