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Title: The European Union in British news discourse from 2014 to 2015 : a dialectical-relational critical discourse analysis
Author: Wambach, Anna Maria
ISNI:       0000 0004 7961 1022
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis investigates how the European Union is represented in British news coverage and identifies why news coverage of the EU takes this character. Using a dialectical-relational framework of critical discourse analysis, EU-related articles and stories from five high-circulation newspapers and two prominent TV news broadcasts, collected in the run-up to the 2014 European Parliament and 2015 General Election, are analysed. Semi-structured interviews with British media professionals and EU press officers complement textual analysis. The thesis finds that news media only cover a narrow range of the EU's activities, and focus on the UK context. Coverage tends to emphasise negative rather than positive aspects of the EU. Negative representations often draw on dominant, historical discourses about the relationship between the British Isles and mainland Europe. Where positive aspects are communicated these are principally limited to economic benefits. Grammatical, rhetorical, and intertextual features of coverage feed into and reinforce those patterns. The trends - with some differences between outlets- are observable throughout the sample. Interviews with media professionals show that general trends and differences between news outlets can be explained with reference to perceptions of the journalistic role, organisational structures and pressures within newsrooms and relationships of journalists with EU press officers. In particular, financial pressures necessitate high sales numbers, leading to focus on attention-grabbing events, often reported from an angle perceived to be acceptable to the audience. Interviews feed into a theoretical model explaining the particularities of EU reporting in the sample and more generally. These findings help us understand some of the dynamics leading to the UK's decision to leave the EU and are suggestive of future representations of the EU and its relations with the UK. The thesis therefore contributes to literature on media representations of the EU, to research on news production, and to literature dealing with UK-EU relations more broadly.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Funds for Women Graduates
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available