The Labour Party and the Media 1983-1997

MOORBY, Graham (2018). The Labour Party and the Media 1983-1997. Masters, Sheffield Hallam University.

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As a former journalist and current journalism lecturer, I regularly encounter one overriding theme relating to my former profession - the political bias of UK newspapers. Since 1979, British newspapers as a whole have been overwhelmingly anti-Labour apart from the golden era of Tony Blair's three general election triumphs. It was my aim to look at how Labour transformed its position with the press from a low point in 1983, when it was backed by only one of the main daily papers, to 1997 when it was supported by four, including the biggest seller, The Sun. To make sense of the many issues involved a framework was used consisting of four key factors necessary for a successful media strategy. This framework was applied to the general elections of 1983, 1987, 1992 and 1997. The changes were analysed alongside the debate that surrounded these changes. The existing narrative argues that the media strategy was transformed during this period. Press operations were re-organised, professionalised and new tactics were introduced. These changes played a major part in the electoral success of 1997. Underpinning this transformation was a belief that media support was vital to success. Modernisers say policy was changed to meet the demands of the electorate and was consistent with New Labour ideology. The fact that it found support in the media was down to good strategy. Traditionalists argue policy was changed to meet the demands of the media. Undoubtedly, there were many positive aspects to developments in the media strategy. However, some senior New Labour figures now accept that serious mistakes were made. They have also added weight to the view that the media was allowed too much direct influence on the formulation of Labour Party policy.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Thesis advisor - Petersson, Niels [0000-0003-4725-1985]
Additional Information: Director of studies: Dr Niels Petersson
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2019 13:52
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2023 15:13

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