Migration in the News: Portrayals of Immigrants, Migrants, Asylum Seekers and Refugees in National British Newspapers, 2010-2012

Published 8 January 2013 / By William Allen

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This Migration Observatory report capitalises on new methods for analysing what is commonly known as ‘big data’ and provides a quantitative analysis of the language used by all 20 of Britain’s main national daily and Sunday newspapers. It covers all news stories, letters and other published content dealing with migrants and migration over the last three years – from the beginning of 2010 to the end of 2012. This analysis has involved computer-aided analysis of a ‘corpus’ of some 58,000 news stories and other newspaper items, made-up of more than 43 million words, from stories which include key terms such as MIGRANTS, IMMIGRANTS, REFUGEES, ASYLUM SEEKERS or variations of those words. The study has endeavoured to remove human bias from the analysis – as far as possible – by using modern computing techniques rather than human readers and coders to identify significant patterns. The analysis focuses on describing the findings rather than drawing conclusions about debates on immigration, politics or media practices.


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