The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Student Profiles

Anna Wambach

Project title: Representing Europe: The Character of EU Coverage in British News Media

The United Kingdom has often been labelled an ‘awkward partner’ in the EU (George, 1998). Over the past decade, the proportion of UK citizens believing they benefit from EU membership has fallen. UK citizens’ trust in EU institutions like the European Commission has been continually decreasing (European Commission, 2014). European Election results indicate the same attitude – Ukip, promoting a British exit of the EU – has won before Labour and Conservatives.

As news media are citizens’ primary source of information about the EU’s bodies and policies (Gavin, 2000) it can be assumed that news media play an important part in shaping public opinion (Vliegenhardt et al., 2008). But this is not a one-way route; public opinion can shape media content as well. Either way, media representations of the EU can give valuable insight in public opinion about this issue. Therefore the thesis aims to answer two interrelated research questions:

  • What is the character of coverage of the European Union in contemporary British news media?
  • Which factors account for this pattern of coverage?

To answer these questions in this project different analytical approaches are integrated in a critical discourse analysis approach. This includes an overview of content and framing across all of the data, EU-related articles and stories from five different newspapers and two TV news broadcasts, collected in the run-up to the European and General Elections. This will be followed by a linguistic analysis of a subset of data and interviews with media professionals as well as influential groups and individuals who have an impact on reporting. This way the textual features can be put into context with organisational and societal circumstances which influence the reporting.

The project adds up to the body of literature as qualitative, in-depth analysis of British news media regarding the European Union, especially with a focus on lang! uage and rhetoric has not received much attention. By investigating the factors that account for the coverage analysed, this thesis differs from previous studies insofar as it will give a more complete picture of discursive practices within media organisations, which shape the news discourse itself.

Teaching

  • POL1045 Truth, Lies and Politics (Stage 1)
  • POL2034 Politics and Policy of the European Union
  • CCC8086 Language and Cross-Cultural Communication (MA Cross-Cultural Communication)
  • CCC8026 Research Portfolio (MA Cross-Cultural Communication)
  • CCC8015 Sociolinguisitics (MA Cross-Cultural Communication)

Qualifications and achievements

  • BA in Communication Science (Ludwig-Maximilians Universitaet Muenchen)
  • MA in Cross-Cultural Communication (Newcastle University)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Research (Newcastle University)
  • Since December 2014 I am a committee member of the UACES Student Forum.
  • Awarded Funds for Women Graduates Bursary (2016)
  • Elected UACES Student Forum Chair

Publications

Presentations

  • ECPR SGEU Conference, University of Trento, June 2016
  • 46th Annual UACES General Conference, Queen Mary University of London, September 2016
  • Workshop : Attitudes Towards the European Union: the Role of the Media, Warwick University, October 2016
  • 18th Annual UACES Student Forum Conference, Newcastle University, July 2017
  • 47th Annual UACES General Conference, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, September 2017

Web profiles

Presentations

HaSS First Year Conference 'Illuminating Research', June 2014

Politics PGR Conference, May 2015rnNewcastle Critical Discourse Group PhD Symposium, May 2015

16th UACES Student Forum Conference 'Ever Challenged Union', June 2015