Strategic Political Communication
Authors: Lilleker, D.G.
It is argued that political communication has gone through a process of transformation. The transformation is depicted in Figure 1.1, but the chapter contextualises the transformation within current literature and practices of political communication. Political communication is argued to have simultaneously passed through three interconnected processes: professionalisation, mediatisation and marketisation. These processes are argued to have shaped the strategies and tactics of political communicators and have had a profound impact upon the publics’ levels of trust, engagement and participation. The professionalisation of political communication describes the way that politics has adapted to new forms and styles of communication and new means of transmission in order to reach their audience. It is argued that professionalisation is driven by media, and adapting to the communication forms of media; we find ourselves today in the hypermedia age, with the Internet competing against television as the prime vehicle for political communication. Whether this changes the substance of political communication, the content of the message or just the presentation style will be explored further in this chapter. Secondly, and related to professionalisation, we turn to mediatisation. Mediatisation describes the process by which political communicators adapt to the working practices and patterns of journalists and editors in order to gain coverage.