Introduction A researcher who sets out to investigate the relationship between the media and the policy process soon becomes aware of a pair of apparently contradictory propositions. First, in the United States and the United Kingdom at least, policy makers (both politicians and civil servants) are highly sensitive to media coverage of their work and pay significant amounts of attention to shaping coverage or considering what hypothetical coverage might look like (Adelman 1991; Campbell 2008). Second, policy makers do this even though political science and communications researchers struggle to find much in the way of media influence on policy other than in narrowly defined circumstances (Kingdon 2003; Robinson 2002). This chapter argues that it is possible to reconcile these positions if we understand policy making as an activity where the gathering, processing and dissemination of information are central. If policy making is treated as taking place in an informational environment characterized by network structures it becomes possible to understand why policy makers are so sensitive to the media and why existing research has identified such circumscribed effects. In addition new dimensions of the interaction between media and policy process become visible. Thus the primary objective of this chapter is to develop a theoretical picture of the policy process. The raw material for this enterprise comes from two overlapping sources. First, the literature of social network analysis as applied to organizations and organizational fields (Kilduff and Tsai 2003; Burt 2005). The chapter does not apply social network methods in a formal sense but draws on the conceptual armoury of this approach. On the basis of the analysis developed here this is an approach that has significant potential for providing a structured comparison across issue areas and across countries. Second, the chapter draws on the mountain of evidence documenting the work of policy makers and those that seek to influence them in the United States. There is an overlap between these fields in a number of important studies that have put forward perspectives on the policy process that emphasize the importance of networks of exchange and communication (Laumann and Knoke 1987; Heinz et al. 1993) and in the way that actors operate within this structure (Whiteman 1996; Feldman 1989).