Media and Politics

Présentation de cours du programme universitaire

Media and Politics

  • Professeurs : Emiliano Grossman et Tatiana Coutto
  • Session : juin
  • Langue d'enseignement : anglais
  • Nombre d'heures de cours : 36

Télécharger la présentation 2021 du cours "Media and Politics" (PDF, EN, 584 Ko).

Objective of the Course

The goal of this course is to provide participants with a good working knowledge of the role of media in contemporary politics. We will try to develop a better understanding and conceptual grasp of this relationship, which will also involve studying techniques to systematically analyze media discourse. The methods section will moreover devote some time to introducing techniques of text analysis.


The media “may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about. The world will look different to different people” (Cohen 1963).

We take this quotation as a starting point for exploring the relationship between media and politics. It opens up several perspectives that we will try to tackle in this course.

  • First, the media tells something about the world. The issue is not simply whether this is “objective” (we doubt that there is such a thing as “truth”), but how new stories come about. While it may involve politics and ideology, before we come to this point, there are many other important determinants. Technological and commercial constraints for a start: different media types face different constraints and these constraints may change over time as a consequence of the economic, regulatory and social context.
  • Second, citizens, voters or public opinion receive something from the media that influences what they know about the world and how they think about it. On most issues, the media are our main or only source of information. When and under what conditions will information lead people to focus on issues, to change their mind or even to act?
  • Finally, we want to know how the media influences the real world. There are – at least – two major perspectives on this topic. First, as noted in the second point above, there may be an indirect influence as the media may change viewers'/readers' perceptions. Second, there may also be a more direct link as policymakers try to anticipate voters' reactions on issues and act accordingly.

By evaluating these perspectives in turn, we will try to address some transversal questions regarding the evolution of the media landscape, the quality of information, ethical issues and the relation to democracy. The ultimate goal is to better understand the role of the media in politics in all its dimensions, over time and across countries.

The methods section of this class will moreover devote time to text-mining techniques. We will rely on the statistical software R and related packages. Previous knowledge of R is useful but not absolutely necessary. Installing R before class would be helpful, though.

Organization of the Course

Morning sessions will usually require students to do readings ahead of class. The afternoon sessions will mainly be devoted to hands-on coursework concerning methods, analysis and personal projects.

  1. Media systems, regulation and politics
  2. Making the news
  3. Campaign coverage and mediatization
  4. Political knowledge and participation
  5. The rise of interactive media and the Internet
  6. Media effect theories
  7. Political competition and the media
  8. Governing with the media
  9. Populism and polarization
  10. Media and globalization
  11. Media and democracy in perspective

Professor Biography

Emiliano Grossman is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Sciences Po, working at the Centre d'études européennes in Paris. He is originally from Argentina, but grew up in Germany before coming to France for university. He studied at Sciences Po, the LSE and the University of Cambridge. He teaches comparative politics, media and politics, and related subjects. At Sciences Po, he coordinates the program on "Politics and Public Policy" at the School of Public Affairs and co-directs the research axis on "Evaluating democracy" at LIEPP. He is also the co-editor of the European Journal of Political Research. His research concentrates on agenda-setting, political institutions and media, and politics. Currently, he is especially interested in the determinants of people's judgements of government performance and the way media influences policymaking.

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