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The way news outlets report and frame stories has a profound impact on the public; they have the power to sway how we interpret events and can affect public opinion. This study examines how the British print press reported the Syrian migrants before and after September 2 2015 - the date 12 Syrians made global headlines after they drowned attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. This incident received global attention through the images of one of the victims, three year old Aylan Kurdi.
A content analysis of four separate newspapers, varying in political leaning and style was conducted. The purpose of the study was to identify valence and frame of newspaper articles pertaining to the Syrian migrants, to analyze how this varied across different newspapers, and to observe potential changes from before and after the incident. Newspaper articles were retrieved from the database LexisNexis. The study employed a quantitative content analysis and tested the differences in reporting between right and left leaning newspapers in regards to frame and valence. Also, the difference between tabloid and broadsheet newspapers in regards to frame and valence was tested. Primary results showed that in the two weeks before and the two weeks after the incident, newspapers reported the incident more commonly using an episodic frame. Additionally, right-leaning newspapers were more likely to use a thematic frame when covering Syrian migrants. The study also concluded that U.K. broadsheet newspapers were more likely to report Syrian migrants positively than tabloid newspapers were.



Refugee, Syria


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