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Framing Immigration in the Canadian and British News Media

  • Andrea Lawlor (a1)

Despite an extensive dialogue on the subject of immigration, there has been little systematic cross-national investigation into the framing of immigration in the news media. Understanding the evolution of frames is an important piece of how we conceive of the link between the public's political priorities and policy makers’ responses. While the multi-directional relationships that exist between media, public policy and public opinion often pose challenges to precisely extracting media effects, there is still much that can be said about how the content and tone of immigration frames change over time in response to major policy changes or focusing events. Using automated content analysis (ACA) of print news data from Canada and Britain, I examine immigration framing from 1999 to 2013, identifying immigration-related frames in print news coverage and identifying trends in the volume and tone of frames over time. Results offer insight into striking commonalities in the frames used by each country's print media, and the divergent evolution in the emphasis on certain frames over others, largely predicated on coverage of focusing events.


Malgré un dialogue expansif au sujet de l'immigration, il y a eu jusqu'ici peu de recherche transnationale systématique sur le cadrage de l'immigration dans les médias. Comprendre l'évolution des cadres est un point essentiel de la manière dont on conçoit le lien entre les priorités politiques du public et les réponses des décideurs. Bien que les relations multidirectionnelles existant entre médias, politiques publiques et opinion publique représentent un défi pour discerner les effets des médias, il reste encore beaucoup à dire sur la manière dont le contenu et le ton des cadres de l'immigration évoluent dans le temps, en réponse aux changements majeurs de politiques ou événements politiques. En utilisant une analyse de contenu automatisée (ACA) de la presse écrite canadienne et britannique, j'examine le cadrage de l'immigration de 1999 à 2013, en identifiant les cadres reliés à l'immigration dans la couverture médiatique de la presse écrite ainsi que les tendances dans le volume et le ton de ces cadres à travers le temps. Les résultats offrent un aperçu des points communs frappants dans les cadres utilisés par la presse écrite des deux pays, mais aussi de l'évolution divergente dans l'emphase de certains cadres par rapport à d'autres, largement fondé sur la couverture d'événements politiques.

Corresponding author
King's University College, Western University, 266 Epworth Ave., London ON, N6A 2M3, Email:
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Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique
  • ISSN: 0008-4239
  • EISSN: 1744-9324
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