Changing priorities, hybrid campaigns: interest groups’ perceptions of gains and risks in the new media landscape
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionInterest Groups & Advocacy. 2020, 1-23. 10.1057/s41309-020-00089-7
Interest groups depend on visibility for political influence and organizational growth. The current hybrid media landscape presents both opportunities and constraints for visibility and influence. For organized interests, if, when and how to use established media involves a continuous evaluation of different media strategies, as well as evaluations of how to best combine media and non-media platforms for efficient, multi-platform advocacy campaigns. Through qualitative interviews with 39 health interest organizations, representing a broad spectrum of group types, resources and access to decision-makers, this study analyses evaluations of the perceived gains and risks associated with media strategies. Although all interviewees value media visibility, their actual access to the established news media varies significantly. In the current media landscape, which is characterized by hyper-competition and hybridity, we find that it is primarily the well-resourced organizations, with storytelling expertise, which gain and prioritize visibility in the established media. Other organizations, independent of other group characteristics, seek visibility by increasingly becoming networked content distributors to bypass established media and target specific publics to promote organizational aims.