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date: 25 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In Italy journalism is highly politicized: as early as the Risorgimento newspapers were intended as political tools. The press tends to promote ideas and reinforce existing attitudes rather than focus on factual news reporting. This tendency was reinforced throughout the postwar period: in the First Republic all political parties had their own paper. With the commercialization of mass media, and the disappearance of many parties in 1992–93, the party press disappeared. Political affiliation replaced party affiliation while the politicization of journalism persisted. Newspapers address a highly partisan readership, partly due to a polarization of the political system that increased with Berlusconi’s rise to prominence. Journalists see themselves as political actors and commentators rather than reporters of facts, and their professional identity is weak. Italian newspapers have never been able to attract a large readership or to be profitable, but their circulation amongst elites has endowed them with considerable influence.

Keywords: Risorgimento, First Republic, political affiliation, Silvio Berlusconi, commercialization, journalism, mass media, political parties

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