Martin Moore, Gordon Ramsay







Digital agenda-setting: Measuring mainstream and social media influence during the UK 2015 election campaign

This paper examines the setting up and managing of 'Election Unspun', an experimental news content analysis project, and its main findings. In the end, the project collected every tweet from more than 3,000 political actors and influencers, analysed the national newspapers' coverage and websites of ITV News, Sky News and Channel 4 News and the UK versions of the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed Politics during the 2015 general election campaign in the UK. It concludes that, despite the plethora of media platforms available, 2015 was a top down, stage-managed campaign. From the statements, tweets and party political material published by the parties, the party leaders, and the candidates it was clear that both the Conservatives and Labour were eager to talk about the economy, and the press largely followed their lead

Keywords: digital agenda setting, UK General Election, media content analysis


References

  1. Barnett, Adam (2015) One million foodbank visits, but not one story in the Tory press, 22 April. Available online at http://leftfootforward.org/2015/04/one-million-foodbank-visits-but-not-one-story-in-the-tory-press/, accessed on 24 July 2015
  2. Bruns, Axel and Liang, Yuxian E. (2012) Tools and methods for capturing Twitter data during natural disasters, First Monday, Vol. 17, No. 4. Available online at http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3937/3193, accessed on 24 July 2015
  3. Conservative Party (2015a) A cost analysis of Labour Party policy, 5 January. Available online at https://www.conservatives.com/~/media/Files/Downloadable%20Files/LabourCostAnalysis.ashx, accessed on 24 July 2015
  4. Conservative Party (2015b) 3,028: Labour's tax rise for every working household, 24 March. Available online at https://www.conservatives.com/~/media/sharethefacts/3028, accessed on 24 July 2015
  5. Fallon, Michael (2015) This unholy alliance would put Britain's security in jeopardy, Times, 9 April. Available online at http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/thunderer/article4405666.ece, accessed on 24 July 2015
  6. Gaffney, Devin and Puschmann, Cornelius (2014) Data collection on Twitter, Weller, Katrin et al. (eds) Twitter and society, New York, Peter Lang Publishing pp 55-68. Available online at https://katrinweller.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/twitter-and-society-scholarly-communication-2014.pdf, accessed on 7 December 2015
  7. Gerada, Clare (2015) @clarercgp, 28 March 2015. Available online at https://twitter.com/clarercgp/status/581712278464176128
  8. Graham, Todd, Jackson, Dan and Broersma, Marcel (2014) New platform, old habits? Candidates' use of Twitter during the 2010 British and Dutch general election campaigns, New Media and Society, August. Available online at http://nms.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/08/12/1461444814546728.abstract, accessed on 18 August 2015
  9. Hope, Christopher (2015) Number of different people visiting foodbanks is 500,000, not one million, says Trussell Trust, Daily Telegraph, 22 April 2015. Available online at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11555010/Number-of-different-people-visiting-foodbanks-is-500000-not-one-million-says-Trussell-Trust.html
  10. Hopkins, Katie (2015) Rescue boats? I'd use gunships to stop migrants, Sun, 17 April. Available online at http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/suncolumnists/katiehopkins/6414865/Katie-Hopkins-I-would-use-gunships-to-stop-migrants.html
  11. Ipsos MORI Issues Index (January-May 2015) Interviews with a representative quota sample of 966 adults aged 18+ at 159 sampling points across Great Britain. Interviews conducted face-to-face. Responses to Question 1: 'What would you say is the most important issue facing Britain today?'
  12. Little, Alison (2015) Labour plans 3,000 tax bombshell on families to fund spending, Express, 29 March. Available online at http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/567152/Labour-plan-tax-families-3-000-spending-David-Cameron
  13. Lumley, Karen (2015) @Tell_Karen, 30 March. Available online at https://twitter.com/Tell_Karen/status/582591939087900672
  14. Moore, Martin et al (2015) Election Unspun: Political parties, the Press, and Twitter during the 2015 UK election campaign. London: Media Standards Trust. Available online at http://mediastandardstrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Election_Unspun_July_20151.pdf, accessed on 18 August 2015
  15. Newton Dunn, Tom (2015) PM: Ed will hike tax 14 a week, Sun, 30 March. Available online at http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/6390273/David-Cameron-claims-every-household-will-pay-1450-a-week-more-tax-under-Labour.html
  16. Caroline Nokes (2015) @carolinenokes, 1 April. Available online at https://twitter.com/carolinenokes/status/583195526516105216/photo/1
  17. Osborne, George (2015a) 21 April, 4.28pm. Available online at https://twitter.com/George_Osborne/status/590537610176638977
  18. Osborne, George (2015b) 24 April, 11.08am. Available online at https://twitter.com/George_Osborne/status/591544166401896448
  19. Osborne, George (2015c) 27 April 2015, 2.41pm. Available online at https://twitter.com/George_Osborne/status/592685094499913729
  20. Paton, G and Elliot, F. (2015) Tories freeze rail fares as Labour edges ahead, Times, 10 April
  21. Ramsay, Gordon (2014) How newspapers covered press regulation after Leveson, London, Media Standards Trust. Available online at http://mediastandardstrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Final-Draft-v1-040914.pdf, accessed on 28 July 2015
  22. Ross, Tim (2015) George Osborne's 'housing revolution' election pledge, Daily Telegraph, 4 April. Available online at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/general-election-2015/11515683/George-Osbornes-housing-revolution-election-pledge.html, accessed on 15 July 2015
  23. Sherwin, Adam and Wright, Oliver (2015) Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election, Independent, 21 April. Available online at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/rupert-murdoch-berated-sun-journalists-for-not-doing-enough-to-attack-ed-miliband-10191005.html
  24. Swinford, Steven (2015) Election 2015: David Cameron pledges five-year 'tax lock', Telegraph, 29 April. Available online at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/11569593/Election-2015-David-Cameron-pledges-5-year-tax-lock.html
  25. Tall, Stephen (2015) @stephentall, 9 April. Available online at https://twitter.com/stephentall/status/586088438216155136
  26. Trussell Trust (2015) Foodbank use tops one million for first time, says Trussell Trust, 22 April. Available online at http://www.trusselltrust.org/resources/documents/Press/Trussell-Trust-foodbank-use-tops-one-million.pdf

Note on the contributor

Dr Martin Moore is Director of the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power and a Senior Research Fellow in the Policy Institute at King's College London. He was previously director of the Media Standards Trust.

Dr Gordon Neil Ramsay is Deputy Director of the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power and a Research Fellow in the Policy Institute at King's College London. He was previously research fellow at the Media Standards Trust.