Media for Diversity and Migrant Integration

How News Content Influences Anti-immigration Attitudes: Germany, 1993-2005

TitleHow News Content Influences Anti-immigration Attitudes: Germany, 1993-2005
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsBoomgaarden, H. G., and R. Vliegenthart
Journal TitleEuropean Journal of Political Research
Place PublishedOxford, UK
Type of WorkCo-authored journal article
1) Abstract

The article investigates the influence of news coverage of immigration on anti-immigration attitudes in Germany over a period of twelve years. A second set of variables of real world events is also included in the analysis to text for their impact on attitudes. Interestingly, in terms of the MEDIVA project, the analysis found that the greater the positive representation of immigrant actors in the news, the less people perceived immigration as problem.

2.1) Publication LanguageEnglish
2.2) Type & Structure

News as context and macro-level media effects
Over-time perspectives on news and immigration attitudes
Conclusion and discussion

2.3) Original Research or Not


3.1) Main Issues

The core finding was that an increased in visibility of immgrants in the media may help to increase feelings of sympathy and familarity and thus, might help to reduce negative attitudes towards immigration. The article also found that the frequency and tone of media coverage of immigration greatly impacted upon the level of anti-immigration attitudes but that the strength of this effect also depended on immigration levels and the number of asylum seekers. The article found that the impact of negative coverage of immigrants was stronger when real immigration levels were higher immigration and when there was spike in asylum applications. The level of immigration coverage in the media was only slightly related to a rise in anti-immigration attitudes.

3.2) Media

Three sets of data were analysed: public opinion data, media content data and real world developments. for the media content analysis newspaper articles were taken from three daily German newspapers: Suddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine and Tageszeitung. On top of this, evening news bulletins from four TV channels (ARD, ZDF, RTL and SAT 1) were also analysed. Articles and programmes were collected from 1993- to 2005 and coded depending on their visibility and tone (being positive or negative towards immigration.

3.3) Media Genres

Newspaper articles
Television news bulletins

3.4) Key Theories

Computer-assisted content analysis
Extended-contact hypothesis - Allport (1954)

4.1) Relevance

Extremely relevant for our understanding of how the representation of immigrants in the media effects public attitudes. However, the raw data set which included the coded analysis of media would be extremely useful.

Keywordscontent, discourse, discrimination, Germany, language, representation
Tagsanti-immigration attitudes, Germany, real world events