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Syllabus Political Communication - 50125
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Last update 06-10-2021
HU Credits: 2

Degree/Cycle: 1st degree (Bachelor)

Responsible Department: Communication & Journalism

Semester: 2nd Semester

Teaching Languages: Hebrew

Campus: Mt. Scopus

Course/Module Coordinator: Dr. Eran Amsalem

Coordinator Email:

Coordinator Office Hours: Tuesday, 12:00-13:00, Room 5408

Teaching Staff:
Dr. Eran Amsalem

Course/Module description:
Political communication is a field of research examining the various ways in which the media, politicians, and citizens exchange information of a political nature. This course will discuss key concepts and present key findings from political communication studies. In the course, we will define key concepts in the study of political communication, present the key actors operating in this arena and their motivations, and discuss the effects of political communications on citizens.

Course/Module aims:
Based on the main theories and current research in the field of political communication, the course will provide students with a basic understanding of the relationship between media and politics.

Learning outcomes - On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Define political communication and its theoretical interests.
2. Identify important studies and prominent scholars in the field of political communication.

Attendance requirements(%):

Teaching arrangement and method of instruction: 1. The course is designed as a frontal lecture.
2. Students are expected to read the article required prior to each class. This is important and will help students succeed in the course.
3. The grade will be based on one assignment during the semester (40% of the grade) and a final paper (60%).

Course/Module Content:
Class 1: Introduction to political communication

Class 2: Evaluating political communication

Class 3: What gets covered in the media?

Class 4: Who gets covered in the media?

Classes 5-6: The media during election campaigns

Classes 7-8: Media effects

Class 9: Selective exposure

Class 10: Media and political participation

Classes 11-12: Political persuasion

Class 13: Political communication in the 21st century: An overview

Required Reading:
Introduction to political communication
Strömbäck, J. (2008). Four phases of mediatization: An analysis of the mediatization of politics. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 13(3), 228-246.

Evaluating political communication
Zaller, J. (2003). A new standard of news quality: Burglar alarms for the monitorial citizen. Political Communication, 20(2), 109-130.

What gets covered in the media?
Soroka, S. N. (2006). Good news and bad news: Asymmetric responses to economic information. The Journal of Politics, 68(2), 372-385.

Who gets covered in the media?
Amsalem, E., Zoizner, A., Sheafer, T., Walgrave, S., & Loewen, P. J. (2020). The effect of politicians’ personality on their media visibility. Communication Research, 47(7), 1079-1102.

The media during election campaigns
Rahat, G., & Sheafer, T. (2007). The personalization(s) of politics: Israel 1949-2003. Political Communication, 24(1), 65-80.

Media effects
Amsalem, E., & Zoizner, A. (2020). Real, but Limited: A Meta-Analytic Assessment of Framing Effects in the Political Domain. British Journal of Political Science.

Selective exposure
Iyengar, S., & Hahn, K. S. (2009). Red media, blue media: Evidence of ideological selectivity in media use. Journal of Communication, 59(1), 19-39.

Media and political participation
Prior, M. (2005). News vs. entertainment: How increasing media choice widens gaps in political knowledge and turnout. American Journal of Political Science, 49(3), 577-592.

Political persuasion
Zaller, J. R. (1992). The nature and origins of mass opinion. Chapter 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Additional Reading Material:
Introduction to political communication
Bennett, W. L., Lawrence, R. G., & Livingston, S. (2006). None dare call it torture: Indexing and the limits of press independence in the Abu Ghraib scandal. Journal of Communication, 56(3), 467-485.
Sheafer, T. (2001). Charismatic skill and media legitimacy: An actor-centered approach to understanding the political communication competition. Communication Research, 28, 711-736.
Sheafer, T., Shenhav, S. R., & Balmas, M. (2014). Political actors as communicators. In Carsten Reinemann (Ed.), Political Communication (pp. 211-230). De Gruyter Mouton.

Evaluating political communication
Humprecht, E., & Esser, F. (2018). Diversity in online news: On the importance of ownership types and media system types. Journalism Studies, 19(12), 1825-1847.
Iyengar, S. (1990). Framing responsibility for political issues: The case of poverty. Political Behavior, 12(1), 19-40.
Reinemann, C., Stanyer, J., Scherr, S., & Legnante, G. (2012). Hard and soft news: A review of concepts, operationalizations and key findings. Journalism, 13(2), 221-239.
Strömbäck, J. (2005). In search of a standard: Four models of democracy and their normative implications for journalism. Journalism Studies, 6, 331-345.

What gets covered in the media?
Harcup, T., & O’Neill, D. (2017). What is news? News values revisited (again). Journalism Studies, 18, 1470-1488.
Helfer, L., & Van Aelst, P. (2016). What makes party messages fit for reporting? An experimental study of journalistic news selection. Political Communication, 33(1), 59-77.
Soroka, S., & McAdams, S. (2015). News, politics, and negativity. Political Communication, 32(1), 1-22.

Who gets covered in the media?
Cohen, J., Tsfati, Y., & Sheafer, T. (2008). The influence of presumed media influence in politics: Do politicians’ perceptions of media power matter? Public Opinion Quarterly, 72(2), 331-344.
Vos, D. (2014). Which politicians pass the news gates and why? Explaining inconsistencies in research on news coverage of individual politicians. International Journal of Communication, 8, 2438-2461.
Wagner, M. W., & Gruszczynski, M. (2018). Who gets covered? Ideological extremity and news coverage of members of the US Congress, 1993 to 2013. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 95(3), 670-690.
Waismel-Manor, I., & Tsfati, Y. (2011). Why do better-looking members of Congress receive more television coverage? Political Communication, 28(4), 440-463.

The media during election campaigns
D'Alessio, D., & Allen, M. (2000). Media bias in presidential elections: A meta‐analysis. Journal of Communication, 50(4), 133-156.
Iyengar, S., Norpoth, H., & Hahn, K. S. (2004). Consumer demand for election news: The horserace sells. The Journal of Politics, 66(1), 157-175.
Zoizner, A. (2018). The consequences of strategic news coverage for democracy: A meta-analysis. Advance online publication, Communication Research. doi:10.1177/0093650218808691

Media effects
Druckman, J. N. (2001). The implications of framing effects for citizen competence. Political Behavior, 23(3), 225-256.
Iyengar, S., & Kinder, D. R. (2010). News that matters: Television and American opinion. University of Chicago Press.
Scheufele, D. A., & Tewksbury, D. (2007). Framing, agenda setting, and priming: The evolution of three media effects models. Journal of Communication, 57, 9-20.
Walgrave, S., & Van Aelst, P. (2006). The contingency of the mass media's political agenda setting power: Toward a preliminary theory. Journal of Communication, 56(1), 88-109.

Selective exposure
Bennett, W. L., & Iyengar, S. (2008). A new era of minimal effects? The changing foundations of political communication. Journal of Communication, 58(4), 707-731.
Iyengar, S., & Hahn, K. S. (2009). Red media, blue media: Evidence of ideological selectivity in media use. Journal of Communication, 59(1), 19-39.
Stroud, N. J. (2010). Polarization and partisan selective exposure. Journal of Communication, 60(3), 556-576.

Media and political participation
Norris, P. (2000). A virtuous circle: Political communications in postindustrial societies. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Strömbäck, J., Falasca, K. & Kruikemeier, S. (2018). The mix of media use matters: Investigating the effects of individual news repertoires on offline and online political participation. Political Communication, 35, 413-432.

Political persuasion
Broockman, D. E., & Butler, D. M. (2017). The causal effects of elite position‐taking on voter attitudes: Field experiments with elite communication. American Journal of Political Science, 61(1), 208-221.
Kalla, J. L., & Broockman, D. E. (2018). The minimal persuasive effects of campaign contact in general elections: Evidence from 49 field experiments. American Political Science Review, 112(1), 148-166.
Mutz, D., Sniderman, P., & Brody, R. (Eds.). (1996). Political persuasion and attitude change. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Political communication in the 21st century: An overview
Van Aelst et al. (2017). Political communication in a high-choice media environment: A challenge for democracy? Annals of the International Communication Association, 41, 3-27.

Course/Module evaluation:
End of year written/oral examination 0 %
Presentation 0 %
Participation in Tutorials 0 %
Project work 60 %
Assignments 40 %
Reports 0 %
Research project 0 %
Quizzes 0 %
Other 0 %

Additional information:
Students needing academic accommodations based on a disability should contact the Center for Diagnosis and Support of Students with Learning Disabilities, or the Office for Students with Disabilities, as early as possible, to discuss and coordinate accommodations, based on relevant documentation.
For further information, please visit the site of the Dean of Students Office.