Communicating agriculture: the media & interest group politics (1997 - 1998)

Oosterman, Allison
Cocker, Alan
Miller, Ray
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Master of Arts in Communication Studies
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Auckland University of Technology

This thesis applies a pluralist theoretical approach to an analysis of the relationship between the media and a selected economic interest group. The study endeavours to discover the extent to which the pluralist model applies to the relationship between the media, interest groups and the state during a time of uncertainty about the future structure of the dairy industry. In the course of the thesis the most relevant features of pluralism are examined and then applied to the topic. It may be that as a result of the analysis, an alternate reading to pluralism is required.

The notion that the media's activities are essential for the operation of a pluralist democracy is discussed focussing on the media’s key role in the operation of interest group activity, in the relationships between other interest groups and between government and the public at large. Looking at the New Zealand situation, factors that may have affected the ability of the media to carry out their role are examined.

For the purposes of this study the pluralist model is applied to the relationship between the interest groups, the state and the media during the debate in 1998 over the future structure of the dairy industry. The role of the mass media of television, newspapers and radio as well as the specialist farming press is examined. An assessment is made as to the extent to which these media organisations impacted on the policymaking process. Research should indicate whether the posited Governor Model of Pluralism actually worked in this instance. From information gleaned from this case study some general conclusions about the role of the media and interest groups in policy making in New Zealand are offered.

Agriculture , Media , Interest group
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