Group D – Communication – Presentation

Yesterday’s presentation put significant emphasis on how our individual majors intertwined over this semester. Although we all focused on different subjects (Film, History and Politics) throughout our Liberal Arts degree, we effectively combined our interdisciplinary knowledge to create a presentation about Brexit.

Although I never enjoyed history or politics, this project taught me to look at it through a cinematic approach. My ability to analyse visual material allowed me to conceptualise complex economic language used in mass media and thus contribute to a political subject constructively.

Please find the final version of the presentation with the bibliography here: Communication Group D 18-19 Presentation

Group D – Communication – Questions Prior Wednesday

Hi Angel,

We hope all is well.

All of us got together today to structure our presentation. The following questions came up which we would appreciate to discuss on Wednesday:

  • After your feedback last week, we have come up with a revised research question. As you suggested, we have united our research question into one and included your idea of the debate: How did the mass media’s presentation of the EU Referendum campaign debate influence the electorate?
  • How do you want us to reference graphs/images in the presentation? Is a bibliography at the end of the presentation valid?
  • What do you want to see in the conclusion? We included why we chose Brexit as our subject, how the research project links to the sub-theme of communication and our individual disciplines (Film, History and Politics) and what limitations our project faces.
  • What is the “Presentation Title” on the “Liberal Arts Individual Participation” document. When do we upload it? Prior or post to our presentation?

Please let us know what you think.

Thank you so much for all your patience and support.

All the best,

Communication Group D


Group D – Communication – Post Half-term

After the data collection over half-term, I put together an abstract of my presentation to present to Angel: Group D – Communication – Abstract.

I received the following criticism which I will address prior to next week:

  • Unite the research questions.
  • What does the research project suggest? What is changing in the world? Truth? Power?
  • Restructure the order of my argument and use the politician as a back up for my argument.
  • Employ transition sentences and overlap key words for a clear structure and an overall understanding.
  • I asked the politician whether she trusts what newspapers print in respect to political coverage. She writes “Yes. Most definitely.” This is an example of how influential the press is, even on politicians, and a reflection on how accurate they really are.
  • Explain why The Sun and The Guardian are an example of a left- and right-wing newspaper.
  • Why are The Sun and The Guardian comparable?
  • Find an editorial version of The Guardian for a valid comparison.

Group D – Communication – Questionnaire

During half-term, I interviewed the MP Labour politician. Please find attached the questionnaire: Group D – Communication – Questionnaire for Interview.

The answers have been very helpful in re-thinking and structuring the research question and hypothesis of the project which will be presented and discussed on the 25th March 2019.

Research Question: How did different mass media outlets communicate the EU Referendum campaign? To what extent did their strategy influence voters?

Hypothesis: This research indicates that the majority of the press was heavily skewed in favour of Brexit and this may have had some influence on the voters.

CSJCC – EU Referendum Analysis – TV coverage

Some articles on TV media content:

Scrutinising statistical claims and constructing balance: television news coverage of the 2016 EU Referendum – Lewis and Cushion (page 40)

  • The economy was the major issue – representing over a fifth of coverage 
    • Immigration was 1/10 stories
  • ‘beyond the issues, personalities and party-politics involved in the Referendum coverage, it was perhaps the lack of scrutiny by non-partisan sources that was most conspicuous by their absence’
    • More independent actors – from think tanks, say, or academics – made up a tiny share of sources used to inform coverage
    • ‘Since 4 in 10 items featured a statistical claim about the EU, the burden of independent scrutiny was thus left to journalists … 3 in 4 items involving statistical claims were not subject to either further analysis or additional context’
    • In effect, this meant much was left to campaign groups to argue with each other about the merits of leaving or remaining
    • ‘Without a great deal of prior knowledge, it would be very difficult for audiences to make sense of these claims and counter-claims, regardless of their veracity’
  • ‘although broadcasters have to abide by “due impartiality” guidelines, this does not necessarily mean they have to be balanced when reporting facts and figures. The editorial goals of accuracy and objectivity involve challenging or questioning claims about being in or out of the EU’
    • Argues that although broadcasters were even-handed in terms of giving both sides equal time, they could have more independently scrutinized, challenged or contextualized many of the facts and figures used by the campaigns 
  • Just days before the Referendum, only 31% felt well or very well informed about their EU vote 

The narrow agenda: how the news media covered the Referendum – Deacon, Downey, Harmer, Stanyer, Wring (page 34-5)

  • Talks about the issues that the referendum created for media 
    • News organisations could not resort to established practices derived from their reporting of electoral contests 
    • i.e. the newspapers couldn’t fall along their fault lines bc the Tories were divided themselves 
  • ‘Broadcasters had to access whether the inclusion of participants beyond the governing party risked introducing new imbalances in their coverage given the other significant parties wholly or mainly endorsed staying in the EU’
  • I.e. most parties were pro-EU, so they couldn’t show a broad range of parties and still be seen as balanced — their coverage would then be majority pro-EU
  • Analyses a DIRECTIONAL BALANCE(i.e. was tv more pro-IN or pro-OUT)
    • Unlike in newspapers, which gave more prominence and quotation space to IN and OUT campaigners depending on their own bias, in TV none of these clear directional tendencies were evident
    • Analysis of 482 TV news items found a small surplus of 28 IN orientated items over OUT items
    • There was also much greater parity in thebroadcasters’ presentationand quotation of competing viewpoints
  • TV news gave far greater prominence to reporting and quoting views of citizens than particular parties 
    • Also, reporting was high ‘presidential’ – the top 5 most frequently reported participants were David Cameron, Boris, Farage and Gove 
      • They accounted for 1/4 of all media appearances 
  • There was remarkable consistency in issue coverage across the media, with 3 issues dominating media debate: economy, immigration, conduct of campaign itself 
  • The marginalisation of many other major issues including the environment, taxation, employment, agricultural policy and social welfare was striking
    • Devolution attracted less than 1% of news coverage 
    • Given their clear Remain majorities and the future implications for both Scotland and Northern Ireland this is a remarkable absence 

‘They don’t understand us’: UK journalists’ challenges of reporting the EU – Anna Wambach (page 53)

  • In interviews with Wambach, journalists complained that the complex nature of the EU does not lend itself to engaging reporting, particularly when there is little time for explanation
    • In order to keep the audience interested, they have to tell a human story, more emotional than factual, to avoid viewers switching off
    • They have to address their audiences’ preferences which leads to a focus on the domestic realm and topics they are more interested in, such as immigration
  • Media organisations are businesses which need to secure their share in the market which will always result in tensions between the commercial and public purpose of news 
    • Even the BBC (although not directly dependent on viewer numbers) has to fulfil its duties of providing information from both sides — acutely aware of accusations of pro-EU bias 

Bending over backwards: the BBC and the Brexit campaign – Prof. Ivor Gaber (page 54)

  • BBC journalists under their Editorial Guidelines have an obligation to provide balanced coverage
    • They don’t have to report climate change statistics in balance with the views of climate change –  but there was no similar judgement made during the EU ref campaign, resulting in coverage that was unintentionally misleading 
  • 13th June – Gordon Brown entered the debate urging Labour supporters to vote to remain 
    • That story led the morning radio and TV bulletins, but by mid-morning the BBC was leading, not on Brown’s speech, but on the Leave campaign’s rebuttal 
      • Showing the evolution of news throughout the day — something you don’t get with the printed press 
  • ‘the other aspect of BBC balance that gives concern has been the attempt to balance so-called elite opinion with that of the ‘common man or woman”
    • Tedious over-reliance on the ‘vox pop’ – the quick soundbite from a member of the public that gives the appearance of being representative but is probably atypical 
      • In the edit suite, the vox pop of the man or woman denouncing all politicians as “liars” stands a far better chance of being used than more nuanced comments 
  • Roger Mosey argues that these incidents become amplified, giving the example of a student who had criticised the PM as “waffling” being “elevated to the status of a national seer” and added “segments that discuss policy are ditched in favour of having as many “zingers” as possible in the News at Ten”

CSJCC – EU Referendum Analysis 2016

Articles suggesting that coverage of the media has been Eurosceptic for years:


‘They don’t understand us’: UK journalists’ challenges of reporting the EU – Anna Wambach (page 53)

  • In summary — the mistrust and misunderstanding between UK journalists/EU officials, alongside the British adversarial style of journalism, has encouraged a Eurosceptic sentiment over the years, perhaps unintentionally
  • Argues that we can’t blame the media for fuelling the toxic tone of the referendum campaign 
  • ‘we need to take into account the organisational structures they are embedded in, the newsroom routines and practices they have been socialised into and their personal relationship with EU officials and sources’
  • In interviews with Wambach, journalists complained that the complex nature of the EU does not lend itself to engaging reporting, particularly when there is little time for explanation
    • In order to keep the audience interested, they have to tell a human story, more emotional than factual, to avoid viewers switching off
    • They have to address their audiences’ preferences which leads to a focus on the domestic realm and topics they are more interested in, such as immigration
  • Media organisations are businesses which need to secure their share in the market which will always result in tensions between the commercial and public purpose of news 
    • Even the BBC (although not directly dependent on viewer numbers) has to fulfil its duties of providing information from both sides — acutely aware of accusations of pro-EU bias 
  • Also, the relationship between EU officials and UK journalists has been mentioned as an obstacle to reporting
    • EU officials were frustrated about UK journalists’ ‘EU-bashing’, whilst UK journalists feel at a disadvantage compared to their colleagues from other member states
  • UK journalists mentioned repeatedly in interviews that they strongly advocate a British tradition of adversarial journalism – although they see their role as informers, they also emphasised their duty to scrutinise the EU, a duty which they feel is in conflict with a more consensual EU system
    • As a result, the EU officials mistake their tradition of journalism as ‘EU bsahing’ and are less likely to provide them with useful, up-to-date information 
  • EU officials emphasised the journalists’ duty to create surpanational debate and bring the EU closer to citizens 
    • UK journalists saw this as the EU’s reponsibility 
  • Case study: the FT
    • Regarded by UK journalists as the EU’s pet, with access to privilege information
    • Indeed, one official admitted he worked with the FT more freely as they have established good contacts and represent the EU ‘more fairly’
  • Since UK citizens have very little direct exposure to the EU, these persistent patterns have reinforced distrust and Euroscepticism over the years 
  • Also see page 12 – Sebastian Payne of the FT: ‘the role of the media in this campaign must also be taken into account. For almost a quarter of a century, Fleet Street has been formenting Eurosceptic sentiment. The media operation from Stronger In was unable to compete with the populist message orchestrated by tabloid newspapers such as The Sun’.


Understanding the role of the mass media in the EU referendum – Dr Mike Berry (Page 14)

  • The Guardian‘s assistant editor Michael White described Brexit as ‘the greatest political crisis’ since the Second World War
  • He argues that there is a different between the short term role of the media in the campaign and the long-term cumulative influence of the media 
    • The impact of the media in the referendum is a product of the interaction of these two effects 
  • ‘although most commentary tends to focus on the impact of the campaign the more powerful effects of the media are actually via long term process of political socialisation, where voters are exposed to messages many times. Here it is important to consider how both the EU and the key issues linked to evaluations of the EU – particularly immigration – have been reported over many years’
  • ‘outside the Independent, Guardian and Mirrorpress reporting has been relentlessly hostile to the EU
  • Research shows that broadcast media has failed to offer a counterpoint
    • Broadcast reporting has tended to be dominated by summits, disputes between the EU and UK or domestic political conflict – this has meant that when the EU is reported it tends to be framed as being in a conflictual rather than collaborative relationship with the UK
    • Furthermore, since most broadcast reporting is dominated by the main two parties, and Eurosceptic Tories have been more vocal than Europhile Labour MPs, audiences have been more exposed to arguments against the EU than those in favour 
  • So essentially – ‘it is important to recognise that before the campaign even began the large parts of the public had been primed by the media to be Eurosceptic

Analysis on social media in our research documents

Analysis on social media from our research documents

Research documents:
• EU Referendum Analysis 2016: Media, Voters and the Campaign – CSJCC
• News Consumption in the UK: 2018 – Ofcom
o Along with this: Scrolling news: The changing face of online news consumption – Ofcom

The EU Referendum and Twitter:

• Can be seen as the first ‘digital referendum’ as both the Remain and Leave campaigns used targeted and digital method
• The Leave campaign had a stronger and more visible presence on Twitter throughout the campaign – Started faster – led to their domination of Twitter throughout the campaign (reflecting the intensity of motivation for leave supporters)
• Remain supporters only started to become more active on Twitter in the later stages of the campaign – when they realised that there was potential for a leave result
• On Twitter the leave camp outnumbers the Remain camp 7 to 1
• Leave supporters’ tweets were more emotionally charged – there’s evidence that high arousal emotions (e.g. anger/irritation) diffuse quicker than more rational/economic arguments
• After the result:
o The public was still divided online
o Leave: celebrated with the hashtag #IndependenceDay
o Remain: reacted with memes/pictures to express their frustration and sorrow – #NotMyVote used
o Internet used to mobilise protest against the referendum result – e.g. posting the petition for a second referendum
• Twitter can polarise and amplify the extremes of debates
• Twitter users are not representative of the wider public – selection bias
o Tend to be highly motivated, younger on average, and males tend to be more likely to engage in political debates
• There was lots of backlash on how tradition polls predicted the result wrong (e.g. YouGov) – however, predictions that used information gathering techniques that utilised information from social media estimated more accurately (they at least predicted that Brexit would be the result)
o Social media now a more accurate way to make predictions? – is this because people are communicating their views here more?
• #usepens meme – mainly used to satirise Brexit voters – undermining their real concerns & refusing to actually listen to them
o (link to BBC article which shows some of these tweets)

Social media (SM) as a source for news in general:

• Paul Staines – Because you can respond quickly on SM it is easy to counter-spin any obviously false information
• Nick Cohen – SM produces lots of misinformation, so isn’t widely trusted – contrast with broadcast media – “in this referendum, the most important thing will be television coverage”
• 44% of adults claim to consume news through SM (76% Facebook, 32% Twitter)
• Use of SM to gain news is more common in 16-24 year olds
• The majority of SM users say they know the sources of the news they read ‘some’ or ‘most’ of the time
o Don’t know all of the sources, so users won’t trust all the information they see/or they could be believing false information
• Twitter access news from these sources: 58% news organisations, 24% other people they follow, 18% friends and family
• Information on SM is usually tailored to the user’s preferences (e.g. through the people they follow) – many users don’t realise this
o Risks of echo chambers and not seeing all sides of the argument
• Approaching news on SM with a SM mindset – leads to shallower, faster & less critical consumption of news
o Also, the emphasis that SM puts on sharing and connectivity could turn news on these as a form of validation/social pressure
• Speed of SM leads to news being less memorable

Group D – Communication – Fourth Meeting

Fourth Meeting:

With the approval of the Minimal Risk Registration Form the group came up with their individual research questions for the politician:

Nicola Screawn – Social Media

  • Which social media platform do you find the most effective in communicating your personal view to the general public? Why do you think this?
  • How often did you use twitter to put forward your views during the week after the EU referendum result?
  • Do you think there are risks that come with using twitter to gain information on events/Brexit?
  • When you use twitter, do you mostly encounter views that are similar to your own?

– Clicktivism

Josephine Steiskal – Newspapers

  • What newspapers have you been featured in since the EU referendum?
  • How have these newspapers differed in their coverage of you and your views?
  • Is there a difference in the type of language they use in the articles? What do you think the reasons are for these differences?
  • What is the process that newspaper outlets follow when featuring you in their newspapers? For example, do they interview you directly and ask for your approval?
  • Which two newspapers do you think contrast their coverage in relation to Brexit in general?

Molly McCullough – TV Broadcasts

  • What television shows have you been interviewed on and how have they differed?
  • Do you feel that you are portrayed differently on television rather than on social media and in newspapers?
  • Would you say that television is a more politically balanced platform as it is required to appeal to a broad range of people? (Coming off the idea that TV isn’t separated to left and right as newspapers are, and have more responsibility to accuracy than social media etc.)

Laura Casellas Igual – International Coverage

  • Has social media allowed you to reach an international audience? If so, what are the benefits of that?
  • What are some professional difficulties you have encountered when exposed to different cultures? Have you experienced any miscommunication or a loss in translation?
  • Has your personal international experience provided you with another lens from which to approach your professional projects? How does that reflect in your local work?

– Sapir-Whorf-Theory

What to think about:

  • Think about the MP’s engagement with media and use that as proof that all media outlets are biased and communicate differently.
  • The politician as our case study and secondary source. Her perspective as a MP to highlight our research.
  • How is Brexit referenced? Is it a direct strand or indirect confrontation?




Group D – Communication – Third Meeting

Third Meeting:

Today’s meeting was a little challenging for all of us as there were a number of misunderstandings in terms of our research question. I understand where I might have been a little unclear but in order to have the selected politician included in our research project I need to collect questions from Laura, Nicola and Molly related to their mass media focus (e.g. social media and newspaper) to forward to them. Just to clarify that our presentation is not about the politician but about their expertise as a politician in parliament. They can give us guidance as to what we should watch out for and give our presentation a valuable voice. Due to the difficulties in finding data for specifically the 24 June 2016, we have decided to focus our research question on a wider timeframe and have now amended the question to:

“Explore how different mass media outlets communicate the aftermath of the Brexit vote.”

With this in mind, we said that we will all have a set of questions ready by Sunday for me to forward to the politician and their assistant as they need to check with the government guidelines whether they are allowed to take part in our research and answer our questions. I will fill in an ethical approval form now.


  • Complete the ethical approval form
  • By Sunday have questions ready in related to the selected mass media outlet to send to the politician
  • Revise and comment on each other’s procedures




Group D – Communication – Second Meeting

Second Meeting:

Think about specific mass media to narrow down the research:

Focus on the aftermath of the Brexit vote (24 June 2016):

  • Look at Twitter – how accurate are Twitter posts? Who posted what (e.g. celebrities and politicians)? Analyse the clicktivism theory in relation to the use of social media for political interpretation.

– Nicola

  • Look at The Guardian/Telegraph vs. Daily Mail/Sun – more vs. less reliable sources and how each interpret the Brexit vote?

– Josephine

  • Look at TV/News – is it similar to the newspaper articles? Who is involved? What channels were talking about Brexit? Analyse This Morning in comparison to the BBC News: is Brexit as politically addressed in This Morning as in the BBC News?

– Molly

  • Look at German/Spanish mass media – what is communicated beyond the British boarder? Analyse the Saphir-Whorf-Theory in relation to linguistic relativity.

– Laura

Think about why we have chosen the above sources and not any other:

  • Remember that the above are “picked” sources

Think about a research question:

  • Explore how different mass media outlets communicate the aftermath of the Brexit vote on the 24 June 2016


  • Why are we focusing on the above sources? Why are we analysing Twitter and not Facebook? Accessible to the public.
  • Look at Habermas theory.