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SEEKING UNMEDIATED POLITICAL INFORMATION IN A MEDIATED ENVIRONMENT: The uses and gratifications of political parties' e-newsletters

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Political parties are increasingly attempting to communicate to sections of the electorate directly, in order to relay targeted messages. E-newsletters are one key communication mode that facilitates this strategy, and previous research indicates that these, like many communications using information and communication technology, offer much potential for the sender. This research focuses on the receiver, explicitly taking a uses and gratifications approach to understanding the function of e-newsletters for the UK electorate. Our findings suggest that the majority of receivers are committed party members who desire to receive information directly from the party that will help them in their campaigning and activist roles. There is, however, a minority of less-active, politically interested, subscribers who also use e-newsletters to aid their voter choice. The data suggest that e-newsletters are able to encourage subscribers to develop and build relationships with a political party, possibly becoming more active in their support than simply offering a vote at election times.
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Keywords: UK political communication; UK political party e-newsletters; Uses and gratification theory; online political activism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Plymouth Business School, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK 2: Bournemouth Media School, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK

Publication date: April 1, 2007

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