Case studies on corruption involving journalists: Conclusion

The case studies that we conducted are supposed to integrate the previous content analysis of the coverage of corruption and related topics that are part of the deliverable WP6.1. The latter is a typical quantitative study conducted on a very large corpus of data. It has offered, in a comparative perspective, very interesting insights into how the news media covers topics of corruption. It is mostly a descriptive study that has produced a number of more general interpretative hypotheses on the representations of corruption as well as on the possible uses of news media coverage as an instrument to curb corruption.

With the case studies, we follow a different path. We want to shed some light on what is defined in social science as “process tracing” (George – Bennet, 2005), that is, discovering the links thatexist between causes and consequences of social phenomena. In other words, our case studies aim at discovering what is behind the specific representations that have emerged from content analysis (that is, the large presence of political and public administration corruption), how and why a particular story has become news, and what the role is of the journalist and his relation to the surrounding context. Content analysis could not say anything in this regard, while a case study approach may reveal something about how the story started, how it developed, and how it ended in becoming news. We conducted our study in five countries: Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Romania, and Slovakia.

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