The Interpretative Moment of European Journalism
The impact of media voice in the ratification process
Hans-Jörg Trenz, Maximilian Conrad and Guri RosÚn
RECON Report No 2
ARENA Report 3/07, Oslo, April 2007
Media coverage is often held responsible for the erosion of public support for European integration. At the same time, a well-functioning political journalism is also held up as an important requirement for EU democracy. Set against this background of conflicting perceptions of the media, this report analyzes political journalism's critical performance in the realm of EU constitution-making.
The ratification stage, when the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe was submitted to public scrutiny and popular referenda, can be seen as a critical juncture wherein political journalists should be expected to step forth as active players in European integration. The present study draws on commentaries in two quality newspapers selected from each of six European countries (Germany, France, the UK, Norway, Sweden and Denmark).
Newspaper commentaries speak to journalism's watchdog role, its critical and representative function, but can also serve a promoting role, to promote European democracy. Were quality newspapers also at the forefront of popular contention about the project of EU constitution-making?