About this Research Topic
The mass media are essential in political election campaigns because they serve as conduits for politicians and political parties to reach voters who can be influenced to determine the outcome of electoral contests. In this age of mediatized elections, politicians who are not taken seriously by the media have little to no chance of winning, since low levels of media attention are often associated with low public awareness. In both established democracies such as the United States and the United Kingdom, and emerging democracies such as Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana, the mass media have become critical factors in determining eventual electoral outcomes.
To a large extent, electoral outcomes are increasingly dependent on the media strategies of political campaigns and media coverage of political events. Accordingly, many studies of elections and political communication emphasize media coverage, communication strategies, and campaign events. In the age of social media, many recent election campaigns have paid considerable attention to the new media of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Tik Tok. Traditional or legacy media have nonetheless not been neglected, especially in Africa, where they wield considerable influence among the elites and public opinion leaders. Nigeria's 2019 presidential election was a watershed in the uses of media and communication in Nigerian politics because it witnessed heightened attention to both traditional and social media, as well as the injection of international public relations counsel via the infamous firm, Cambridge Analytica. This project aims to examine the various uses of communication during this election campaign.
Although many national election campaigns focus largely on local issues and themes that resonate with voters in specific locations within the country, in this age of digital and borderless communication, international interests are becoming increasingly prevalent. In addition to the involvement of international public relations consultants, national election campaigns are attracting increasing attention from the international media, especially the elite global press, which often reflects the political and economic interests of former colonial governments.
Despite these new developments in the increasing use of different communication channels in Nigerian elections, which started with the 2015 presidential campaign, there have not been many serious, comprehensive, and wide-ranging studies of election communication in Nigeria, due to the seeming reluctance of communication scholars and the lack of public confidence in the entire electoral process. Our goal, therefore, is to break new ground in the study of how the media frame election campaigns. We are also interested in considering other genres of communication that are relevant in election campaigns.
Contributions are invited from authors of data-based manuscripts and co-authorships are encouraged. Themes may include, but are not limited to:
1. Newspaper coverage of the 2019 Nigerian election campaign: Framing approaches.
2. Newspaper coverage: Horse-Race approaches.
3. Newspaper coverage: Direction/positive-negative slanting.
4. Campaign print ads (Undressing the ad).
5. Radio coverage of the campaign.
6. Television coverage of the campaign.
7. Social media uses in the election campaign by the two parties.
8. Broadcast commercials.
9. Nigerian outdoor campaign ads: A semiotic analysis.
10. The uses of Public Relations and Political Action Groups.
11. International interests and influences.
12. Transnational actors and global elite media.
13. Matching campaign communication with election outcomes.
14. Quo Vadis: Prospects for strategic political communication in the 2023 campaign.
Keywords: Nigerian elections, campaigns, mixed methods, election reporting, election PR, campaign advertising
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