Migration in the UK Newsprint Media

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The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford has published a report on how migration in represented in twenty British national newspapers (broadsheet and tabloid) for the period between the beginning of 2010 and the end of 2012. A quantitative analysis was undertaken on an extensive data-set – 58,000 newspaper articles of various forms.

The report goes through in detail the language used in conjunction with certain key words, namely: “migrants”, “immigrants”, “refugees”, and “asylum seekers”. One of the key findings is that the most common word to be used in combination with “immigrants” is “illegal”, while “failed” was the most common word to be used when referring to “asylum”. A number of other associations were also identified and these are detailed in the report.

Not only does this very comprehensive report offer an overall insight into how particular discourses of migration are disseminated into the UK public forum during this time-period, but it also offers a template for researching large corpus’ of data. It is far from an easy task to analyse 58,000 articles in a systematic manner. Therefore, this research and the methodologies employed here can inform research projects in other geographical locations.

The Influence of Politics and the Media on Public Perceptions of Immigration in the UK

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Chitra Nagarajan has written a timely piece about migration on opendemocracy.net. The author discusses the influence that politics and the media can have on peoples’ opinions of immigrants (available here). Broader issues are also discussed including the perpetuation of racism in UK society, the “go home vans” aimed at illegal immigrants that drove through London in July and August of 2013, and the use of terminology such as “illegal”, “bogus” and “criminal”.

“Illegal Migrants” Detained in Libyan Zoo

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This week the Times (UK) reported that a significant number of “illegal” African migrants are being detained in a Libyan zoo. These migrants were arrested while attempting to reach Europe (often by boat to the island of Lampedusa – previously discussed here). This site (the Zoo) is being used as a temporary detention centre. There are a number of these types of detention centres in countries surrounding Europe and they are used to try to prevent migrants travelling illegally to Europe. On so many levels it seems quite shocking that people are being detained in such circumstances.

More details are  available here:  http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/middleeast/article3894211.ece

Irish Newsprint Media Articles that Discuss Migration (2012): Initial Results

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Data Sourced from LexisNexis.com (Search Term: Migration)

  • Finding 1: The topic of migration was mainly covered by the Irish Times.
Newspapers Percentage of   Publications
Irish Times 49%
Irish Independent and Sunday Independent 15%
Irish Examiner 12%
Irish Daily Mail 9%
The Mirror and Sunday Mirror 15%
  • Finding 2:   The majority of articles concentrated upon the Irish context.
The Geographical Focus of the Articles
Ireland 60%
UK 9%
Europe 13%
Middle East 2%
USA 1%
Canada 6%
Australia 9%
  • Finding 3: The articles discussed emigration and immigration to quite similar levels.

The focus of the articles are relatively even between emigration and immigration. 51% of articles discuss emigration, 46% concentrate upon immigration, and 3% of articles discuss both topics. The high levels of articles that discuss emigration reflect the broad concern within Irish society of people emigrating due to the economic downturn and a lack of employment. The articles about immigration generally focus on how immigrants can benefit the Irish economy, statistics on the number of “new” Irish, the linking of migrants with criminal activities, and concern over visa amendments/regulations.

This cohort of data (102 articles) will be deconstructed in further detail in the coming weeks. The aim of this work will be to identify the broader discourses that are occurring about migration and what these discourses reflect about how the Irish newsprint media conceptualize migration during 2012.