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General Election 2015: Discover what’s making the media headlines

A real time news audit of the 2015 General Election campaign by Loughborough University is lifting the lid on what media coverage the parties, their policies, MPs and their partners are securing each week.

Academics from the University’s Communication Research Centre have received funding from the British Academy to carry out the analysis, having conducted news audits for every General Election since 1992.

The audit for 2015 is concentrating on the main news bulletins/programmes on BBC1, BBC2, ITV, C4, C5, Sky, BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 4 and all the main daily national newspapers. Coverage is analysed from Monday to Friday each week, and the first report is released today.

The reports provide commentary about the week’s coverage and systematic measurements of which politicians and parties received the most coverage, the proportion of negative and positive coverage of candidates and parties, which issues received greatest prominence and the amount of coverage given to the election.

Unique to the Loughborough study is the historical comparative data available, going back to 1992, which will allow the research team to identify changes and continuities in election reporting.

The audit is being led by Professor David Deacon, Dr Dominic Wring, Professor John Downey and Dr James Stanyer from the Department of Social Sciences.

Speaking about the audit Professor Deacon said: “The media plays a crucial role in elections.  For most people it is their primary source of information when it comes to deciding who to vote for.  Therefore being able to see who and what is making the headlines is very important.

“There are also the issues behind the headlines for us to investigate.  Examples include the coverage and airtime female MPs are securing compared to their male counterparts, the emergence of UKIP and the nationalist parties who in 2010 were virtually non-existent in national media coverage, and how MP’s are using their personal lives to enhance their media presence.  The data we are collating, both from this campaign and our previous studies, enables us examine these and other issues in detail.”

The team’s methodology, full weekly reports and further analysis can be found at the University’s General Election 2015 web page.