Do Journalists Drive Media Slant?

22 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2023

Date Written: March 8, 2021


I study the scope of a principle-agent problem in the field. I analyze news firms and journalists with possibly misaligned preferences over the partisan slant of content, and find that the firm's ability to exert control is limited. I construct a dataset that links 2,700 journalists to firms, news articles, and Twitter profiles. I measure article slant with a machine learning algorithm I train to identify partisan phrases. Using a movers design, I find firm ideology does not change the slant of a journalist’s writing. In contrast, journalist ideology, estimated using the following decisions of Twitter users, is strongly correlated with article slant.

Keywords: Journalists, News, Media, Slant, Principal-Agent

JEL Classification: D2

Suggested Citation

Srinivasan, Karthik, Do Journalists Drive Media Slant? (March 8, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Karthik Srinivasan (Contact Author)

University of Chicago ( email )

5807 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
4045562887 (Phone)

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics