Newspaper Coverage of Refugees Entering the U.S. and Canada Before and After the Paris Terrorist Attacks of November 2015 (REFNEWS)
- Project Identification
- Project Period
- 12/2017 - 1/2020
- Investor / Pogramme / Project type
- Masaryk University
- MU Faculty or unit
- Faculty of Social Studies
The latest so-called “refugee crisis” has dominated headlines for over two years now. While worldwide attention has been gripped on Europe, less attention has focused on the situation in countries that don’t receive as many refugees and asylum seekers. However, these places often have the most vocal debates concerning people seeking refuge. Nowhere is this more evident than in the United States and Canada. My research centers on newspaper coverage of refugees entering (or potentially entering) these two countries, during the period six weeks prior and six weeks following the Paris terrorist attacks on November 13, 2015.
Much of the scholarship on media coverage of refugees (and migrants overall) has utilized the theoretical lens of framing. I build upon this legacy by embracing an explicitly cultural sociological perspective, in which the meaning-making process is at the center of the inquiry. While some of my content analysis involves quantitative measurement of the themes and the voices within the 318 news articles in my sample, the core of the analysis entails a deep, interpretive reading of the data, providing a reconstruction of the pure cultural text.
The results from this comparative study reveal both predicted and counterintuitive findings. Unsurprisingly, in the case of all four media outlets in the sample – The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail – there is conflict-based coverage concerning refugees. At the same time, there are a considerable number of stories with human-interest frames, featuring the voices of refugees and painting them in a positive light. Attribution of responsibility represents the third major frame, with a focus on how thoroughly (or not) refugees are being vetted by governmental authorities. Based on the qualitative reading of the data, two primary themes have emerged: 1) The Politics of Selectivity, or the ways in which those being permitted to enter the country are un/deserving; and 2) The Optics of Welcome, which reflect national identity and what kind of country “we” are.
Total number of publications: 2