Latest news from Loughborough University

1 May 2015

Leaders’ debates lose media interest

The 2015 General Election leaders’ debates have attracted less than half the level of media interest than they did in 2010, researchers at Loughborough University have found.

The greater frequency of the debates and the lack of a clear victor from each have also significantly reduced their news value.

Academics from the University’s Communication Research Centre (CRC) are conducting a real time news audit of the 2015 General Election campaign, lifting the lid each week on what media coverage the parties, their policies, MPs and their partners are securing.

They have carried out news audits for every General Election since 1992, enabling them to track reporting patterns and identify any changes.

“The novelty of the 2010 Leader Debates guaranteed them wall to wall coverage,” explains Dr Dominic Wring, one of the research leaders. “By contrast, the 2015 Debates have been at more dispersed intervals across the campaign. This has made it more difficult for them to dominate and shape the news agenda to the same extent.

“Furthermore, recent 2015 Debates have not provided the kind of clear narrative that emerged five years ago with the outbreak of so-called ‘Cleggmania’.  The Lib Dem leader’s convincing triumph in that first encounter in 2010 changed the dynamic of the subsequent campaign. By contrast no clear victor emerged in the conflicting polling as to who had ‘won’ the first Debate in 2015.”

The team’s full research findings and methodology can be viewed here.


Notes for editors

Article reference number: PR 15/73

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times. Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and has been voted England's Best Student Experience for six years running in the Times Higher Education league. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In 2015 the University will open an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University in London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will offer postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.

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