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CJMD Spotlight: When Journalists Run for Office — The Effects of Journalist-Candidates on Citizens’ Populist Attitudes and Voting Behavior

Join the CJMD and Cristian Vaccari, Professor of Political Communication at Loughborough University, for a discussion on The Effects of Journalist-Candidates on Citizens’ Populist Attitudes and Voting Behavior.

This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required:

About this Event:

January 20, 2021 || 12 PM (pst) || Zoom

This study analyzes how citizens respond to information about high-profile journalists who run for public office for major parties. An experiment embedded in the Italian National Election Studies 2018 pre-electoral survey (N=1,533) tested whether exposure to information about journalist-candidates affects citizens’ levels of populist attitudes and voting intentions. Information on journalist-candidates led to significant increases in populist attitudes, particularly when participants were told that journalists were running for all the main parties.

By contrast, participants who were informed about journalist-candidates did not increase their probability to vote for the parties that were fielding them. These findings suggest that political parties do not stand to gain substantial electoral benefits when they recruit journalist-candidates, but this practice may contribute to damaging citizens’ support for representative democratic institutions and elites. Citizens remain attached to the idea that journalists should strive to remain independent from politicians rather than aim to become politicians themselves.

Please note that the Zoom link will only be sent out to registered attendees 24 hours in advance of the event and via direct email. This is to protect our guests from zoom bombing and other digital gate crashers.

About the Speaker

Cristian Vaccari is Professor of Political Communication at Loughborough University, where he also co-directs the Center for Research in Communication and Culture. He has written widely about political communication in comparative perspective, and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Press/Politics.