Explaining Media Attention for Norwegian MPs: A New Modelling Approach


Tor Midtbø, Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen, Christies gt. 15, Bergen 5007, Norway. E-mail: tor.midtbo@isp.uib.no


This article provides a new perspective on why the quantity and tone of media coverage vary between groups of politicians. The analysis makes three key distinctions: first, between the volume of reporting and its tendency; second, between attention-seeking politicians and blame-avoiding politicians; and third, between attention due to characteristics of media outlets and those of politicians. These distinctions, along with a comprehensive dataset and a multilevel analysis approach, comprise the building blocks of an empirical analysis of press coverage devoted to Norwegian parliamentarians between 2001 and 2005. The results suggest that politicians who appear regularly in the newspapers, such as party leaders and long-serving MPs, face a greater amount of negative media coverage than those who do not. Female MPs receive less, but more positive, coverage. Reporting by the tabloids is more negative than that of other newspapers, especially with regard to party leaders.