ARTICLE: News on corruption differ by country and paper

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Newspapers’ coverage of corruption is different in different countries – and in different papers, a study by Paolo Mancini, Marco Mazzoni, Rita Marchetti, all of University of Perugia, and Alessio Cornia from University of Oxford (names not in original order).

The authors algorithmically analysed over 100 000 news articles from Italy, France, and the United Kingdom. Four newspapers of different types were selected from each country, and their corruption-related coverage from 2004 to 2013 was analysed for patterns.

Most obviously, Italian papers published more news on corruption than those from the other two countries. This is most likely due to the Italian papers’ politicized nature rather than the amount of corruption or press freedom in Italy, the authors conclude.

The analysis also revealed clusters of words most commonly associated with corruption by the news. In Italy, the words most commonly associated with corruption refer to national politics; in the UK, terminology relating to large companies and sports are common, corruption-related themes. According to the authors, the French press shares similarities with both UK and Italy – in addition, French journalists “extensively” discuss corruption in foreign countries.

The authors also noted significant differences between different types of papers. For example, the UK tabloid The Sun widely covers corruption in sports, while the London edition of Financial Times is focused on corruption in the world of business.

The article “Representations of Corruption in the British, French, and Italian Press” was published by the International Journal of Press/Politics. It is available online (public abstract).

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