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Long-term Media Agenda Analysis

(Component 9)

The long-term media agenda analysis (LMA) represents component 9 of the GLES (supervised by Prof. Dr. Sigrid Ro├čteutscher). The LMA aims to achieve a permanent monitoring of the public issue agenda in Germany. It complements the long-term online tracking (component 8) in order to evaluate the influence of politically relevant events on political attitudes and voting behavior.

The LMA is conducted by means of a dictionary-based and computer-assisted content analysis. The dictionary comprises political issues, actors (e.g. parties, politicians, interest groups or institutions) and locations. The data collection proceeds in three steps:

First, the weekly political magazines Der Spiegel and Focus are analyzed in order to track the media agenda continually. This enables the permanent identification of main political events and issues. Second, in the month before a tracking survey an additional analysis of the front page and political section of two daily high-quality newspapers, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and S├╝ddeutsche Zeitung, as well as the most widely read tabloid BILD is conducted in order to allow for more detailed analysis of the dynamics of public opinion preceding the respective online tracking survey. Third, if there is a state election close to the survey, the long-term media agenda analysis takes this into account by additionally analyzing important regional newspapers. The relevant newspapers are identified by looking at the diffusion rate of regional newspapers and selecting those that guarantee to reach the biggest part of the state electorate. As a result, differences in reporting between national and state media can be identified, which might be crucial for decision-making by voters.