Across time and space: Explaining variation in news coverage of the European Union

Hajo G. Boomgaarden*, Claes H. De Vreese, Andreas R.T. Schuck, Rachid Azrout, Matthijs Elenbaas, Joost H.P. Van Spanje, Rens Vliegenthart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


News about the European Union (EU) looks different in different countries at different points in time. This study investigates explanations for cross-national and over-time variation in news media coverage of EU affairs drawing on large-scale media content analyses of newspapers and television news in the EU-15 (1999), EU-25 (2004) and EU-27 (2009) in relation to European Parliament (EP) elections. The analyses focus in particular on explanatory factors pertaining to media characteristics and the political elites. Results show that national elites play an important role for the coverage of EU matters during EP election campaigns. The more strongly national parties are divided about the EU in combination with overall more negative positions towards the EU, the more visible the news. Also, increases in EU news visibility from one election to the next and the Europeanness of the news are determined by a country's elite positions. The findings are discussed in light of the EU's alleged communication deficit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)608-629
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Elite conflict
  • European Parliament elections
  • European Union
  • Media
  • News coverage


Dive into the research topics of 'Across time and space: Explaining variation in news coverage of the European Union'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this