A comparison and analysis of European Union news coverage in the UK and Danish newspaper press
The British and the Danes are equally sceptical in their approach to the European Union. Around half the population of each country is opposed to the closer integration of EU member states. Given that, one would expect British and Danish newspaper coverage of EU events also to be broadly similar. This is, however, not the case. While the UK newspapers take a line that is overwhelmingly Euro-sceptic, the Danish newspapers are almost all pro-European. At the same time, there are differences in reporting approaches and styles in that, although the Danish papers clearly express their Euro-friendly stances in, for example, leader column-c, they nevertheless cover all sides of the debate, and tend to be even-handed in their news reports. This is frequently not the case in their British counterparts. Furthermore, while the UK newspapers tend to report EU news primarily from a domestic standpoint, their Danish counterparts take a more 'international' approach and are more inclined to relate reports to a wider European context. This thesis demonstrates that these dissimilarities are the result of differences in the UK and Denmark in the areas of influence that affect the way journalists choose and handle news stories. These areas of influence, as defined by Paul Voakes, are: individual; small group; orgamsation; competition; occupation; the law; and extra media. Overall, this thesis argues that the effects of these differences are to produce EU coverage in the UK newspaper press that is significantly more unbalanced, distorted and nationalistic than it is in its Danish counterpart and that such skewed reporting is often the result of a conscious abandonment the British press of standard practices for the achievement of a 'fair' and 'accurate' representation of news events.