Television News, Politics and Young People: Generation Disconnected?

(Palgrave 2010) Co-Authors: Julian Petley, Craig Murray and Lesley Henderson.

Young people are today at the cutting edge of a general ‘disconnect’ with mainstream politics. The neo-liberal consensus has had detrimental consequences for democratic participation and engagement. Declining engagement with television news, which remains wedded to traditional ‘Westminster’ politics is symptomatic  of this crisis of representation for and about young people. This collaborative project, which was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, provides both quantitative and qualitative analysis of television news, critiquing its symbolic criminalisation of young people and narrow political discourse that suggests it is the elites who are disengaged from the wider body politic, not the other way round. The research involved interviews with broadcasters to find out how far they were aware of a problem of disconnect amongst young people for their news programmes, what they thought the causes were and what they thought could be done about it. The research also interviewed young people as audiences of news to discover their own perceptions and attitudes to news and the mediation of politics through the news.