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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Strangers in the House: the Legislative Press Gallery of British Columbia Reeder, Sarah Katherine


This thesis explores the dynamics and complexities of the press-politician relationship in the context of the British Columbia Legislature and Press Gallery. The relationship is examined from theoretical, historical/institutional, practical, and political perspectives. The evidence presented suggests that although the press-politician relationship is necessarily symbiotic, it is also characterized by conflict and attempts by both press and politicians to achieve independence of each other. As such, the relationship is most accurately described as one of "adversarial symbiosis." The sources of strain and the constructive elements of the relationship work in tandem to move the province closer to the ideals of legislative democracy as the relationship evolves over time. Provincial press galleries are notoriously under-documented, both through independent research and through their own administration. To date, there has not been a comprehensive study of the British Columbia Press Gallery as an institution of the Legislature. As a result, this thesis relies heavily on oral history, provided through semi-structured interviews with current and former members of the Press Gallery, and published biographies of B.C. journalists and politicians. This thesis was also informed by a review of the existing literature on the Canadian, Australian and British Parliamentary Press Galleries, archival research at the B.C. Legislative Library and Press Gallery offices and personal observation and analysis afforded by the author's six-month Legislative Internship in the B.C. Legislature.

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