Media for Diversity and Migrant Integration

«Describe and Prescribe», Differences Seen Through the Local Press: Action on Local Media Professionals

Title«Describe and Prescribe», Differences Seen Through the Local Press: Action on Local Media Professionals
Publication TypeReport
Original Title“Decrire et prescrire”, la difference dans l’information locale: agir sur les professionnels de l’information en region
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsDarras, E., J. Berthaut, R. Douara, S. Jouanneau, and S. Laurens
Date Published2005
PublisherToulouse, laboratoire des sciences sociales du politique
Place PublishedToulouse
Type of WorkExecutive summary, report
1) Abstract

This study is the result of an analysis of 6 months of articles in the local press, as well as interviews and observation. It relates the lack of presence of immigrants or people issued from diversity in the local press, analyses the ways diversity is presented, and makes recommendations for a better media treatment of diversity at a local level, with an emphasis on information, education and training.

2.1) Publication LanguageFrench
2.2) Type & Structure

Causes of “ethnicising” treatment
Marketing imperatives
Genre constraints
Pre-formatting of information
Relation to power networks
Twelve Recommendations

3.1) Main Issues

People from immigration backgrounds are rarely in local press articles – 1 in 100 articles., some are “invisible” because of the historical topics of media interest, others are not seen or unwelcome as subjects of articles by journalists. Most of the time, there is not stigmatisation of immigration, indeed they are seen in a flattering light in items on culture or sport. However, one quarter of appearances of immigrants in articles were in local crime news, where the immigrant was the victim in 20% of cases.
There is an element of “folklore” in the representation of immigration in certain columns, in sports for example where representation is overwhelmingly positive. This element sees the culture of the “other” in contrast to the local culture with national references. Around half of the articles are imprecise or neutral in terms of ethnicity, and results reflect an aspect of “self-consorship” on the part of journalists. It is also evident that the matter of good or bad coverage of issues of diversity is not discussed in editorial offices.
The causes of an “ethnicisation” of the coverage are examined in terms of professional practices, and divided into four categories: the market imperatives, dictated by commercial directives, the genre constraints, which dictate styles and linguistic patterns, demanding for example the mention of nationality in a crime report; dictated by the mediated sources of news (associations, museums, press releases); these are related to education and training, as the above are internalised as early as journalism schools. Another cause is also the political leanings of the newspaper/journalist, or the close relationship of journalists with politicians/powerful elites on the ground at a local level.

The report then advocates a new vision of media, seen from a sociological point of view and concentrating on the human side, and thus on education and training, with workshops mixing crime reporters and police staff, as well as associations,etc. Schools of journalism should also concentrate on genre and its constraints. In documentaries, the everyday should form part of the observation; identify roles within editorial offices which can influence internal changes.
The local press should also be a tool of change, for local politicians attitudes for example, even on a linguistic basis, as they could be shown the impact of some clichés and ways of speaking. The impact of photographs is also discussed, as is the need for a better pool of stock pictures representing issues of diversity. Dialogue should be initiated between journalists and local actors in the field of diversity, and trade unions should be included in any work on diversity. From a commercial point of view, marketers should also be made aware of the potential of consumers in areas that they usually ignore.

3.2) Media

Written press, regional

3.4) Key Theories

Analysis of 620 articles over a 6 months period in local press (43 newspapers)

Analysis of articles, interviews, 10 weeks observation in editorial offices

4.1) Relevance

Very relevant for a section of the media which is not always present in national reports, and an overall view of local written press, with a critique of the genres and the commercial imperatives at work in the media dealing with issues of diversity

Keywordscontent, France, representation
TagsContent analysis, recommendations