Inside-out: Interest groups’ “outside” media work as a means to manage “inside” lobbying efforts and relationships with politicians

Leila Trapp, Bo Laursen

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

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Recognizing the important role that media work can play for interest groups in securing their members’ interests, the purpose of this study is to more precisely explore the reasons why “insider” interest groups that participate in valuable face-to-face lobbying with policy makers might supplement their lobbying efforts with media work despite the inherent risk of doing so. Through interviews with press contact staff at 52 Danish insider interest groups, we find that media work is conducted in order to (1) motivate policy makers to address particular issues in ways that are favorable to the organization, (2) manage the ongoing face-to-face lobbying process, and (3) strengthen relationships to policy makers. While the first reason neatly reflects the well-known agenda-setting strategy in which raising public awareness on political issues is central, the remaining more surprising and underexplored reasons indicate a need to revise our assumptions about media work in politically motivated organizations. Our proposal is three-fold: Because interest groups view political actors as key consumers of news stories, media work should no longer be conceptualized as an exclusively outside strategy; we should sharpen our appreciation of the importance of political finesse, in addition to media savvy, amongst press staff in politically driven organizations; and finally, as part of the ever-growing mediatization of politics, we should recognize that political processes that traditionally have taken place in face-to-face lobbying, such as relationship building, are now also taking place in the news media.
TidsskriftInterest Groups and Advocacy
Sider (fra-til)143-160
Antal sider18
StatusUdgivet - 2017