Politician-reporter interactions in the New Zealand Parliament : a study in political communication.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts (Hons)
The relationship between government politicians and reporters in the Parliamentary Press Gallery may be conceptualised as a process of interaction, by actors with divergent but overlapping purposes, from which political communication emerges as news. Interactions may be characterised as role-regulated and involving mutual adaptation by the actors. Divergence of purpose implies a constant potential for conflict in interaction. Mutual purposes and adaptation enhance co-operative interaction. Analysis of role concepts held by the politicians and the reporters provides some insight into the nature of conflict and co-operation in interaction. Constant sources of conflict may be indicated by differences over news definitions applied by the reporters and the publicity interests of the politicians. Adaptation by each towards the other can be seen in the operation of routine channels for the passage of information and in shared understandings surrounding other, informal information flows. Specific elements in the relationship can be identified as assisting mutual adaptation. Mechanisms exist for the management of overt conflict. Adaptation may raise issues relevant to the normative role of the press. Co-optation of the reporters for the communication purposes of the politicians is contrary to notions of a "strong" press, providing critical scrutiny of government as well as conveying information accurately from it to the public.