Hope or Fear? A Contemporary Portrayal of Immigrants in British Regional Newspapers
How does the press represent immigrants? The leading scholarship in framing studies argues that immigrants are mostly represented negatively in the national press, which aligns with the dominant discourse. But does that negativity exist in the local newspapers too? Focusing on the immigration debate surrounding Brexit, the following study was set out to examine ten local newspapers from the most populous city regions in the UK during three snapshot time points from November 2018 to April 2019. The six-week period, which was mainly based on Brexit milestones, served as data collection points. The evidence suggests that local press coverage largely portrays immigrants in a favourable manner, proving support and highlighting their need and contribution. The said positivity was closely followed by the threat frame which depicts sentiments of fear, panic, burden and hostility. However, a shift in the positive discourse, towards threat, was noted during the mid-time point that was mainly fueled by the elite rhetoric. Among the findings, the Scottish open arms policy towards the immigrants is very significant. It is mainly linked to their local concerns, such as labour shortages and population decline. While the study contributes to the growing literature in local media research, it also highlights how domestic needs could push back on the dominant discourse.
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