New journal article: “The Political Information Cycle in a Hybrid News System: The British Prime Minister and the ‘Bullygate’ Affair”

I have a new journal article out in the International Journal of Press-Politics. My take on the changing nature of news production.

Andrew Chadwick (2011) “The Political Information Cycle in a Hybrid News System: The British Prime Minister and the ‘Bullygate’ Affair” International Journal of Press/Politics 16 (1), pp. 1-27.


During a weekend in February 2010, just a few weeks before the most closely fought general election campaign in living memory, British prime minister Gordon Brown became the subject of an extraordinary media spectacle. Quickly labeled “bullygate,” it centered on Brown’s alleged psychological and physical mistreatment of colleagues working inside his office in Number 10, Downing Street. These were potentially some of the most damaging allegations ever to be made about the personal conduct of a sitting British prime minister, and bullygate was a national and international news phenomenon. This study provides an analysis of the processes of mediation during the affair. It is based on close, real-time observation and logging of a wide range of press, broadcast, and online material, as the story broke, evolved, and faded, over a five-day period. The study reveals the increasingly hybridized nature of news systems and argues that traditional understandings of the “news cycle” should now be replaced by a broader concern with the “political information cycle.” Political information cycles are complex assemblages in which the personnel, practices, genres, technologies, and temporalities of supposedly “new” online media are hybridized with those of supposedly “old” broadcast and press media. This hybridization now decisively shapes power relations among news actors. The combination of news professionals’ dominance and the integration of nonelite actors in the construction and contestation of news at multiple points in a political information cycle’s life span are important characteristics of contemporary political communication.


media hybridity, news cycle, political information cycle, broadcasting, television, newspapers, Internet, Twitter, blogs, assemblages, time, power.

Download PDF here.