Neue Zürcher Zeitung, October 31, 2008
Local television has – at least in Switzerland – a positive impact on political participation.
Collecting cross-sectional data on a community level, Christine Benesch of the University of Zurich demonstrates that in places where local television stations are established, less-educated groups watch more news and participate more frequently in elections.
Benesch believes this might influence politicians and parties to respond by personalizing their election campaigns instead of focusing only on political topics. Increased political participation, however, is only observed where broadcast areas and canton* borders are the same. This effect could not be proven for cross-canton local TV programs. Benesch’s research was presented during the International Workshop on Media Economics at the invitation of Professor Ulrich Kaiser, Institute of Strategy and Business Economics of the University of Zurich.
*Editor’s note: Cantons are states in Switzerland. The 26 cantons of Switzerland are the states of the federal state of Switzerland.