University of Twente Student Theses


Female Politicians in the News Media : a content analysis of German newspapers reporting on Annalena Baerbock’s chancellor candidacy

Lehbrink, Malin (2022) Female Politicians in the News Media : a content analysis of German newspapers reporting on Annalena Baerbock’s chancellor candidacy.

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Abstract:Research Objective: Women are still underrepresented in the political world. One reason for this is the influence of the media. Prior research has shown that female political candidates are often reported on differently in newspapers. By using different frames, strategies and valence, news media narrate the female candidates in certain ways, which might bias the public opinion. This study investigates how German newspapers reported on Annalena Baerbock as chancellor candidate from her announcement in April 2021 until the election in September 2021. Method: A mixture of quantitative and qualitative content analysis was conducted for 362 articles from Die Süddeutsche Zeitung and Die Welt, for which a combined inductive and deductive coding scheme with seven main categories was used. Results: The outcome of this study shows that the majority of analysed articles report on Baerbock in a neutral and factual way. However, some gender stereotypes such as combining motherhood with being a successful career woman and females’ physical looks still make an appearance. The most relevant personality traits linked to Baerbock are her being collaborative and working a lot with others, as well as her being strong, which is very much in line with what is expected from successful politicians. Other topics discussed within the articles are her experience or the lack thereof, as well as her gender, which seems to be the most salient aspect of Baerbock. Looking at the difference between the two newspapers, Die Welt appears to portray Baerbock slightly more negative and makes use of a more ironic form of reporting. Conclusion: Although most articles stick with an objective form of reporting, it should be mentioned that some of the traditional and outdated stereotypes females have been facing for decades are still addressed in today’s news. Baerbock’s gender is discussed very thoroughly, confirming that her being female and the stereotypes related to it are still relevant in society’s though processes. The distribution of these views manifests within our society and makes it much more difficult to escape from them and build one’s own opinions. This study did not analyse the effects the reporting has on the readers, but one should not underestimate how much influence the media has on opinion building.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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