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April 28, 2014

Research reveals importance of newspapers for civil service policy ‘gatekeepers’

By Oliver Jones

New research suggests that printed newspapers remain one of the influential sources of information for senior civil servants.

According to the research carried out by the University of Manchester 61 per cent of the 320 civil servants that were surveyed used newspapers and weekly magazines first to learn about academic research. 

The most popular way for them to find out about academic research was via briefings or reports (79 per cent).

The research was contained within a research paper titled ‘What does Whitehall want from the academics?’.

Co-author of the report Professor Colin Talbot said: “We focus on senior civil servants, non-elected public officials, because in British government they play a very important role as ‘gatekeepers’ of what ‘gets into’ the policy-making process.

“And this report shows that though many people report the demise of printed newspapers, we are wrong to underestimate their influence.”

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