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"Media Friendly" Congressional Web Sites: Who is Reaching Out to Journalists on the Web?

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Abstract:

While the internet has revolutionized political communication, it has not eliminated the importance of established avenues of communication such as the news media. News coverage is still critical for politicians, especially members of Congress as they seek to achieve their electoral, policy, and power goals. In this paper we demonstrate how representatives use their Web pages to court journalists. We analyze the content of the Web pages of 100 members of the House in order to study the features on these sites that are intended to be useful for journalists. We then explain the variance among members and reveal some important findings regarding congressional communication behavior. Although we assume that reelection is a member's primary goal, our results show that neither a member's electoral security nor the median household income in a district have a significant impact on the extent to which congressional Web sites are media friendly. However, members' efforts to achieve their policy goals (and perhaps the power goal which is subsumed by the policy goal in this case) do have an important impact on the variance in behavior. Partisanship and ideology are important predictors of the media friendliness scores for representatives' Web sites with Republicans and more liberal members having a greater likelihood of constructing attractive sites for journalists. In addition, younger representatives are more likely to take advantage of their Web sites to court media attention. There are also two other particularly interesting variables that are very significant in explaining this behavior. Females are likely to have Web sites that are much more media friendly than those of males. However, the Web pages of minority representatives are likely to have significantly fewer features that would be sought by journalists. These results provide a much broader understanding of how Web sites are being utilized by members of Congress to help them communicate with the public.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

web (119), member (116), site (114), media (111), news (62), repres (61), journalist (55), use (48), congress (38), like (36), inform (32), may (31), coverag (30), polici (29), find (28), internet (28), constitu (27), press (27), friend (26), congression (25), communic (25),

Author's Keywords:

Keywords: Congress, House of Representatives, Internet, Web, Communication, Technology, Journalism, News
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Name: American Political Science Association
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http://www.apsanet.org


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MLA Citation:

Lipinski, Daniel. and Neddenriep, Gregory. ""Media Friendly" Congressional Web Sites: Who is Reaching Out to Journalists on the Web?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton Boston & Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts, Aug 28, 2002 <Not Available>. 2009-05-27 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p65750_index.html>

APA Citation:

Lipinski, D. and Neddenriep, G. , 2002-08-28 ""Media Friendly" Congressional Web Sites: Who is Reaching Out to Journalists on the Web?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton Boston & Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-27 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p65750_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: While the internet has revolutionized political communication, it has not eliminated the importance of established avenues of communication such as the news media. News coverage is still critical for politicians, especially members of Congress as they seek to achieve their electoral, policy, and power goals. In this paper we demonstrate how representatives use their Web pages to court journalists. We analyze the content of the Web pages of 100 members of the House in order to study the features on these sites that are intended to be useful for journalists. We then explain the variance among members and reveal some important findings regarding congressional communication behavior. Although we assume that reelection is a member's primary goal, our results show that neither a member's electoral security nor the median household income in a district have a significant impact on the extent to which congressional Web sites are media friendly. However, members' efforts to achieve their policy goals (and perhaps the power goal which is subsumed by the policy goal in this case) do have an important impact on the variance in behavior. Partisanship and ideology are important predictors of the media friendliness scores for representatives' Web sites with Republicans and more liberal members having a greater likelihood of constructing attractive sites for journalists. In addition, younger representatives are more likely to take advantage of their Web sites to court media attention. There are also two other particularly interesting variables that are very significant in explaining this behavior. Females are likely to have Web sites that are much more media friendly than those of males. However, the Web pages of minority representatives are likely to have significantly fewer features that would be sought by journalists. These results provide a much broader understanding of how Web sites are being utilized by members of Congress to help them communicate with the public.

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Document Type: .pdf
Page count: 20
Word count: 7378
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``Media Friendly'' Congressional Web sites: Who is Reaching Out to Journalists on the Web? Daniel Lipinski University of Tennessee dlipinsk@utk.edu Gregory Neddenriep University of Tennessee gneddenr@utk.edu Paper prepared for presentation at the 2002 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association Boston MA Aug. 28­Sept. 1 1 Communication is critical to politicians and when new technologies arise it is important to understand how they are being used to affect government and politics. The rapid rise of the internet has
Karen M. 1996. Media Entrepreneurs and the Media Enterprise in the U.S. Congress. Cresskill NJ: Hampton Press Inc. Loomis Burdett. 1988. The New American Politician: Ambition Entrepreneurship and the Changing Face of Political Life. New York: Basic Books. Nielsan Norman Group. 2001. Designing Web sites to Maximize Press Relations: Executive Summary. Owen Diana Richard Davis and Vincent James Strickler. 1999. ``Congress and the Internet.'' The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics. 4(2): 10­29. Parker Glenn R. 1986 Homeward Bound: Explaining


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