Has government been mediatized? A UK perspective

Garland, Ruth; Tambini, Damian and Couldry, Nick. 2018. Has government been mediatized? A UK perspective. Media, Culture & Society, 40(4), pp. 496-513. ISSN 0163-4437 [Article]

Revised article for Media Culture and Society no cover February 2017.pdf - Accepted Version
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Abstract or Description

There has been little empirical research to date on the consequences of mass media change for the processes of government in the United Kingdom, despite a well-documented concern since the 1990s with ‘political spin’. Studies have focussed largely on the relative agenda setting power of political and media actors in relation to political campaigning rather than the actual everyday workings of public bureaucracies, although UK case studies suggest that the mass media have influenced policy development in certain key areas. The study of government’s relations with media from within is a small but growing sub-field where scholars have used a combination of methods to identify ways in which central bureaucracies and executive agencies adapt to the media. We present the results of a preliminary study involving in-depth interviews with serving civil servants, together with archival analysis, to suggest that media impacts are increasingly becoming institutionalized and normalized within state bureaucracies: a process we identify as mediatization. A specific finding is a shift in the relationship between government, media and citizens whereby social media is enabling governments to become news providers, bypassing the ‘prism of the media’ and going direct to citizens.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):



agenda setting, government, media relations, mediatization, policy making, United Kingdom

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


22 March 2017Accepted
13 June 2017Published Online
1 May 2018Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

14 Jan 2022 15:00

Last Modified:

15 Jan 2022 18:48

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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