Understanding free movement and migration in the European Union
Entrenched media practices vs facts about migration
There is often little correlation between the ‘facts’ of migration and how the topic is covered by the media. In most of the countries surveyed by the REMINDER project, objective factors (such as the number of migrants present in a country or the actual effects of immigration on host economies or welfare systems) were not major factors shaping migration coverage — though in the UK this was raised as an issue by journalists.
Researchers found that coverage is likely to be shaped by the particular ‘culture’ or standard practices of the media organisations and media industry of a given country. These include the norms of how journalists and government interact, and whether reporters feel their role is to advocate a particular view on an issue, or to provide nuance. Such factors, coupled with rapid societal change and concerns about institutional failure (at an EU or national level) may be stronger determinants of the sort of news coverage a news consumer might encounter than ‘hard facts’.