The mass media is conventionally assumed to play an important role in welfare state politics. So far, however, we have very little systematic theorizing or empirical evidence of when and how the mass media reports on welfare state reforms. Building on news value theory and the welfare state reform literature, we develop a set of hypotheses about mass media reporting on welfare state reforms. We argue that mass media attention is conditioned not only by the direction of reforms, with cuts getting more attention than expansions, but also by the election platform that the incumbent party ran on in the last election as well as by the policy reputation of the government. Drawing on a new dataset including about 4,800 news articles in British, Danish and German quality newspapers from 1995 to 2014, we find supporting empirical evidence of our expectations.