Emotions in Political Journalism

While traditionally ignored by journalists, politicians and scholars alike, emotions play a crucial role in political communication. Politicians regularly employ emotional appeals in their communication with the electorate, while journalists may also use emotive language in their reporting. Scholarship has also more recently paid attention to journalists’ and politicians’ emotional states as both groups deal with massive changes in their professions. Yet, we still have an incomplete understanding of the role that emotions play in the relationship between journalists and politicians. In addition, little comparative work has been conducted on this phenomenon.

To better assess how political journalism is evolving today, this project examines the individual, relational and cross-national aspects of such emotional management. In doing so, it will conduct longitudinal in-depth interviews with political journalists and politicians in Austria and the Czech Republic, focus groups and content analysis, as well as innovative interactive tools. Key questions the project examines include what kinds of emotions political journalists and politicians perceive in their work, what role these emotions play in their interactions with one another, and how each side manages their emotional responses.

Further, the cross-national comparison between two countries that exhibit some differences but also similarities in terms of their political journalism, the projects will identify the role national factors play in these processes. The project is thus expected to generate much-needed knowledge about the role of political communication in both countries.

The programm is funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and runs from 2023 to 2026.


Participating Researchers

Melanie Haberl

Dominik Hokamp