News about the European Parliament: Patterns and external drivers of broadsheet coverage
Few political communication studies deal with the European Parliament during non-election times even though it takes decisions in a wide range of policy areas. This study examines the patterns and external drivers of European Parliament broadsheet coverage by analysing 2155 articles from six European Union countries during a routine period (2005–2007). Generally, it finds that the European Parliament receives regular coverage. However, developments in the domestic context also influence European Parliament news coverage. Public support for the European Union increases the number of reports about the European Parliament. While national elections do not compromise its news coverage, higher levels of party political contestation over the European Union and trust towards the national parliament lead to lower coverage. The implications are discussed with reference to the European Parliament’s democratic legitimacy.