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House Members' Communication Styles: Newsletters and Press Releases

Diana Evans Yiannakis
The Journal of Politics
Vol. 44, No. 4 (Nov., 1982), pp. 1049-1071
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2130673
Page Count: 23
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
House Members' Communication Styles: Newsletters and Press Releases
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Abstract

The literature on Congress offers no systematic analysis of representatives' communications with their constituents. This paper argues that such communications constitute an important linkage between representative and represented and, as such, are indicators of House members' interelection reelection strategies. Mayhew's categories of member activities were used for classifying communication styles in House members' newsletters and press releases; however, in order to delineate styles which discriminate among members in different electoral circumstances, it proved necessary to modify those categories to include consideration of geographic focus. The distinction between nationally oriented and locally oriented position taking was found to be particularly important. Thus, communication style was found to be a function of district and member characteristics; more ideologically extreme members from affluent suburban districts emphasize position taking on national issues; while relatively senior members from poor districts tend to present a particularized credit-claiming style.

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