Bringing diversity of voices in public domain might still be a far reaching goal for the New Zealand media. The AUT study of the 2014 election coverage shows the news was dominated by males and by political party members. When journalists used social media to discuss the elections they mainly to talk to each other.
Nearly three quarters of people talking in the election news were male (71%), political party sources outranked all other sources of news combined and journalists covering the elections used Twitter as a press club: 70% of @ mentions were of other media.
These are the findings of the study “AUT Media Observatory: News, politics and diversity in the 20145 General Election” published by the AUT Journalism, Media and Democracy Research Centre.
“The most visible finding of this research is that in an election that on the surface appeared to differ from the norm - with scandal, surprise, and media stunts from minor– statistically, the coverage paints a picture of a conservative status quo, prioritising the traditional categories of privilege (white, male, business) and traditionally dominant two major parties” – says project leader, Associate Professor Verica Rupar.
“Various social groups were present in the coverage, and at times given voice, but the space was sqizzed. Our snapshot of media content at election time suggests there is still some way to go before the mainstream news media, as John Key might say, can adequately stand for “all New Zealanders,” says Rupar.