Methodology for mapping media discourse about migration

To understand what media and social media content about migration and mobility in the EU looks like, REMINDER researchers created a large database of media articles and social media posts dealing with migration and intra-EU mobility. They then used computer-assisted techniques to analyse the content and tone of these articles.

The final database spans a period of fifteen years and includes more than seven million articles (or ‘text units’) from 37 news outlets, both traditional media and online, in seven different countries — UK, Hungary, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Spain and Romania — and tens of thousands of social media posts.
The team was able to collect media data starting in 2003 and social media data starting in 2015 for all target countries except for Hungary, for which the media data only reaches as far back as 2013.

Elements of the texts that the team analysed included topics, tone, actors, recurring patterns (‘collocation’) that are related to both EU mobility and non-EU mobility, as well as the ‘framing of EU mobility’. With the aid of human coders, the team created and validated several complex dictionaries of migration language used in different countries, its application and meaning. This allowed them to distinguish narrative frames in the news coverage, such as crime and security, welfare, and economic framing. They used computer-aided sentiment measurement tools to capture the tonality of the texts and ‘corpus linguistic’ techniques analyse the language patterns and narratives.

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