What makes news more multiperspectival? A field analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Democratic normative theory suggests that the news media should promote a broad range of viewpoints, yet little research has attempted to identify and explain variations in press multiperspectivalness. This article introduces new generalizable measures of ideological and institutional pluralism, and applies them to a case study of immigration news coverage by a cross-section of the U.S. and French national newspaper fields. The most multiperspectival newspapers tend to receive less of their funding from advertising and have audiences with higher cultural capital. Consistent cross-national differences may be partially attributed to political field influence and news formats. In contrast to more atomized U.S. narrative-driven news stories, the French "debate ensemble" format (grouping together breaking news, editorials, interview transcripts, and background context articles) serves as the opening to a wide-ranging public debate. When U.S. newspapers offered "multi-genre" news coverage, their degree of multiperspectivalness also increased.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-418
Number of pages17
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Oct 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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