Back to Reality: The Complex Relationship between Patterns in Immigration News Coverage and Real-World Developments in Dutch and Flemish Newspapers (1999–2015)

Laura Jacobs, Alyt Damstra, Mark Boukes, Knut De Swert
  • Mass Communication & Society, March 2018, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/15205436.2018.1442479

The Complex Relationship between Patterns in Immigration News Coverage and Real-World Developments

What is it about?

Although prior studies investigating immigration news typically documented a dominant focus on negativity and threats, only limited empirical research is available, which scrutinizes the way real-world developments affect these patterns in immigration news. This study aims to fill this void. First, we report results of a large-scale and longitudinal content analysis (N = 4,340,757) of trends in immigration news coverage in two Western European cases, Flanders (the northern, Dutch-speaking, largest region of Belgium) and the Netherlands, from 1999 to 2015. Both the salience of immigration as a news topic on itself and its linkages with three prominent issues (i.e., crime, terrorism, and socioeconomic issues) are explored. Second, this study builds on previous insights by comparing dynamics in immigration news to real-world events and developments. Overall, the results show that the linkage of immigration to issues of crime, terrorism, and the economy in Flemish and Dutch newspapers was considerable throughout the 17-year period under study. Yet there is limited evidence for a close relationship between news and real-life developments; hence, trends in immigration news seem largely unaffected by trends in society.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15205436.2018.1442479

The following have contributed to this page: Dr Mark Boukes and Alyt Damstra