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Title: Journalism and the public sphere in Northern Ireland after devolution : how journalists' sources have evolved since evolution in Northern Ireland 2003-12
Author: Moore, Martin
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 1353
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis considers how, after the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, the return to a devolved Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly government for the first time since 1972 impacted upon journalists’ sources in Northern Ireland. The sample time frame used for this unique piece of research is May 2003 to May 2013. It considers the consequences this new political dispensation had upon Northern Irish journalism during this decade, focusing upon sources for news items used for political reporting in Northern Ireland. Although a range of research has been done on Northern Ireland politics in the peace process, at the beginning of this research in 2011 no substantive research was available on how news sources in the Northern Irish media and political reporting in the region were performing after the devolved government had bedded in from May 2007 onwards. A longitudinal study based on such a multiplatform of media sources at the heart of Northern Irish government has never taken place before, nor has there ever been such a period of stable power-sharing government on which to base such a study. Across the five chapters of this thesis, the author compares and contrasts existing knowledge and academic schools of thought on journalists’ sources and the public sphere against the findings of the data analysis chapter in this research. This thesis aims to help increase our understanding of how journalism in Northern Ireland adapted across a dramatic decade for the region’s politics to cater for the new political reality of a functional devolved executive and assembly administration. This research provides a new level of in-depth understanding about the media coverage and handling of Northern Ireland Executive business after devolution ranging from announcements to negative stories to crisis and policy decisions as they arose in the sample period. The emergence of a range of new groups and influencers across civic society who now had a voice through lobbying the executive and assembly members on local issues will also be considered. The emerging new political class and the level of transformation in relation to the amount of valid sources that the media had to interview and source lead critics from for negative executive decisions is also considered in comparison to the early years of the decade studied where a direct rule administration governed the region. In summary, this research fills a knowledge gap in the academic literature in relation to where Northern Irish journalism, or indeed coverage of the Northern Ireland Executive, stood several years into devolution. The research looks at the rapid increase in both coverage of government affairs in the Northern Irish media, and where the media sourced their coverage. This also includes considering the media outlets involved, broadcast and print, and the trends in the region’s journalism across the decade as well as the increasing level of positive coverage and the differences in coverage between broadcast and print both at regional and provincial level, the differing style and enthusiasm for devolved minsters versus direct rule administration and the changing dynamic as the administration developed over six years in office in media coverage.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available