Birte Schohaus: Politicians in talk shows – Behind the scenes

Birte Schohaus | University of Groningen, department of media and journalism studies |1 October 2012 end 30 September 2016 | Supervisors: professor Marcel Broersma & professor  Huub Wijfjes | b[dot]schohaus[at]rug[dot]nl

Despite a growing body of different news media, like online news and social media, television is still a crucial source of political information for citizens. The interaction between politicians and journalists on television, however, has changed markedly during the last decades and is still altering. Television talk shows have played a significant role in these changes and have gained a special position in the relations between journalists and politicians. There is more space for soft news and human interest in this genre than in news programs, and the host can easily switch between serious and more entertaining topics or questions. Politicians have to adjust to these formats, but also think they can get their message across much more easily in a talk show than in news programs where they only get a few seconds of speaking time.

In my research I focus on the relationship between the on- and off-screen interaction between politicians and journalists in Dutch talk shows and how this is affected by the programs’ format. By combining ethnographic research, interviews with politicians, spokesmen, editors and journalists, and a qualitative content analysis of those shows, the production process as well as the final product are analysed to unravel underlying structures, agreements and ideas that shape a program’s format and the interaction in it.