Though social movement organizations (SMOs) depend heavily upon the media for their communication to the public, little is known about the relationships between media coverage and public support for SMOs. This research uses computer-assisted content analysis to assess the relationship between media coverage and membership figures for Dutch environmental organizations over the period 1991-2003. Our analysis provides evidence for direct influence of visibility of the organization and its main issue on membership support, while membership support does not influence visibility of an SMO and its issue. Furthermore, an SMO's media visibility is negatively affected by the visibility of other SMOs within the same sector. These results point to the necessity for SMOs to compete for attention in the public sphere and to the importance of using various strategies to compete for the limited space available in the media.

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