Numbers, Names and Nations : A Study of British Media Coverage of the 2015 Migration Crisis

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Title: Numbers, Names and Nations : A Study of British Media Coverage of the 2015 Migration Crisis
Author: Hills, John
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts, Department of World Cultures
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2018
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: alue- ja kulttuurintutkimus
Area and Cultural Studies
Region- och kulturstudier
Abstract: This study is an analysis of British media coverage of the 2015 migration crisis. I analyse press reporting in the UK during the two week period surrounding the death of Alan Kurdi in September 2015, as this is when media interest in the migration crisis was at its highest. I study reporting in three different media outlets — The Guardian, The Times, and The BBC. Taken together these three cover the political spectrum of mainstream British media. I use critical discourse analysis to do a qualitative study of reporting of three key news events during this two week period, to understand how each of these three different media outlets report on each event, the discursive devices they use, and what effect this has. This is of interest not only with regards to the 2015 migration crisis, but also the wider political context in the UK at the time. There was considerable political and social upheaval, which culminated in the UK’s decision to leave the EU the following year. Immigration was one of the most salient discussion points in this Brexit referendum, which gives the narratives around it even greater importance. My results show that, overall, the way each media outlet reports on the migration crisis and migrants is in keeping with their political ideology — be it right wing, left wing or neutral. My analysis shows that a mixture of explicit and implicit devices are used. In particular, by highlighting the tacit techniques, I am able to show the power the UK media has, not only to inform, but also to influence people, their decisions and their world views.
Subject: discourse
critical discourse analysis
migration crisis
British press

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