'Shadow publics’ in the news coverage of socio-political issues
Rupar, V; Munshi,Kurian, Fraser
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Coverage of contentious socio-political issues in the news media often involves the creation of shadow publics that facilitate journalistic framing strategies. These publics are not easily identifiable but exert significant persuasive power by virtue of the authority ascribed to them. This article explores how the media create and legitimize certain shadow publics which then go on to influence public policy. The findings of the paper come out of an examination of the extensive newspaper coverage of two highly-debated issues – immigration and genetic modification – in New Zealand between1998-2002. Although the coverage of the two issues was dramatically different, it was apparent that particular sections of the population were given greater voice over others in newspapers via the seemingly neutral yet strongly-opinionated and influential shadow publics.