Abstract. Different strategies apply in the Netherlands and in Germany when TV channels have to decide how often politicians are mentioned or shown in the news during national election campaigns. Extensive content analyses in the 1990s suggest that Dutch political and media traditions promote a more equally distributed attention to different political positions. In Germany, TV news focuses almost exclusively on the incumbent candidate for the top function of the national government (the office of Chancellor) and his challengers. The likely causes are not only the political system and the particular circumstances of the 1990s (with the pre–eminence of Helmut Kohl), but also recent developments in the way in which German journalists define their task.