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.

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.


Group D – Communication – First Meeting

Group D:

Nicola Screawn – Major in Politics

Molly McCullough – Major in History

Laura Casellas – Major in Film Studies

Josephine Steiskal – Major in Film Studies


In order to combine all of our major disciplines with the sub-theme of communication we thought about a historical and political event and how accurately this is communicated to the general public and possibly other countries (e.g. Germany and Spain). The contemporary turbulent political situation here in Britain makes Brexit an unavoidable case to explore. We are intrigued by how this event is portrayed in the mass media (documentaries, newspapers, social media, etc.) and how effectively the news travel beyond the British boarder. The challenge we face here is the extensive information provided which we decided to narrow down by merely focussing on one specific day of the Brexit journey.


  • What day of the Brexit journey is most relevant to explore?
  • What documentaries, newspapers and social media are Brexit orientated?


  • Come up with a research question
  • Narrow down the media research and think about what coverage we should focus on

What are your thoughts?

Best of luck to all the other groups!

Utility Imperialism v. Liberal Imperialism

In this post I will discuss the contrast between Chinese and Anglo-American Imperialism and its implications in both development and politics.

Aside from imitating American business and development strategies like we saw in the cases of Huawei & IBM tech centres in Africa, Huawei also practices China’s famous ‘no-strings attached’ policy when doing business abroad. One big example is the telecom deal between Huawei, ZTE and the Ethiopian government. It is an $800 million deal that aims to expand the country’s mobile phone and internet infrastructure. Here we can see how China specialises in providing utility to foreign countries and in this way perpetuates its imperialism.

No strings attached, providing infrastructure  – utility imperialism & critics

But it draws attention that the Ethiopian telecom business is state owned and Ethiopia has refused to liberalise its telecom industry, critiques have said this Huawei and ZTE deal further ruled out the chance of liberalising Ethiopia’s economy.

“The deal with Huawei and ZTE will preserve Ethiopia’s state dominance and further put off the opening up of one of Africa’s largest economies. ”

This was back in 2013. Last year Xi has announced the strategy of one belt one road which is doing more business and investment abroad by providing infrastructure. Some have said it is similar to the post WW2 Marshall Plan America offered to Europe and China’s imperialist ambition is revealed.

“Some analysts have compared the One Belt One Road enterprise to the Marshall Plan. After World War II, the United States was such a strong manufacturing entity that it was forced to seek markets for its industrial products. The Marshall Plan required that aid to Europe involve a quid pro quo of U.S. investment and imports.”

On the other hand, 

“If Trump is too tied up with the Deep State and China leaves a bit of clean water, electricity, and road infrastructure – so be it.”

However in general China’s warns us how the West might not understand Africa better than anyone else – that might be a beneficial insight risen from the power rivalry between Chinese and American Imperialism, from a development point of view. One could say that developing countries and their people might want to seek their own way into democracies or whatever they want to and can achieve for their own good, ideally without Western intervention such as aids that come with patronising conditions and sometimes what locals see as hypocritical charities.

I have noticed, in recent years there has been a gradual shift in Western commentators’ judgements on Chinese business and developed approaches abroad – from mostly critical to curious and reflective nowadays.

“The fact that Western media sources consistently condemn China’s no-strings-attached attitude towards dealing with African regimes as proof that this is a disservice to Africa’s peoples actually demonstrates a certain lack of understanding that the West has of the worldview of many Africans.”

“If China is ultimately successful in bringing about a new surge in African economies, something the West has tried and failed to achieve for decades, then the global conversation on development will be rewritten. At the same time, China find itself one step closer to achieving the “Great Power” status it so longs for.”

Let’s see some local African’s opinions:

“As an African, I don’t really think they care. They’re here for business anyway. What i think many Africans like about them is that they don’t meddle in our affairs. Sorry to say this but the west treats Africans as objects of pity that need to be controlled like kids. Not that we don’t appreciate being helped but stuff like aid has done more harm than good here, in my opinion.”

“We rather work hard to buy the things we need than having someone give it to us as charity in the name of caring. Why subject myself to pity and charity when I have the ability to earn the money fairly?

Some Western professionals actually recognise this concern and have similar opinions too:

“These are fundamental shifts in thinking about what is achievable in the developing world and what the developing world wants to achieve for itself.”

“David Rieff, a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine and contributing editor to The New Republic, says: “The problem with aid, in short, is that it sets itself up as the kind of know-all and end-all. …Aid, by definition, is outsiders telling people in a place how to do it, and telling them if they don’t behave satisfactorily — that is, the best practices that you now see in humanitarianism: if you’re not democratic, if you are not transparent, if you don’t do this, that or the other thing — then we will withdraw the aid. Well, if ever there was an example of any unequal form of relations, I would submit to you that that’s it, which is why, precisely, in depriving people of their agency, aid does more harm than good.”

“Foreign aid atrophies, and weakens, the state in Africa, and the only people who grow stronger are the donors: governments and NGOs. It damages the prospects for ordinary people to better their lives, and turns ordinary Africans into victims. Africans are hard-working people who like to have an enterprise culture. They are natural capitalists and do not need to be patronised by NGOs, who often have left-wing agendas.”

“Giving money can feed the hungry, and help the sick — but it does not free people from the institutions that make them hungry and sick in the first place.”


This would also beg the questions asking whether developing countries know the best about themselves and whether their people understand the significance of long-term development vision and the importance of issues such as human rights.

It is true that Western conditions might just be imperialist expansion in disguise in the name of liberalism and politicians might not really care about Africans. But you cannot say there aren’t indeed countless Western institutions, professionals as well as commoners that continuously offer genuine ideological and educational help and research in their pursuit of a better Africa and a better World. In direct contrast, China’s focus on business partnerships and providing utility and infrastructure might be seen as opportunist, self interested and short-visioned.

“I believe that certain types of health aid — offering vaccinations, or developing cheap and effective drugs to treat malaria, for example — have been hugely beneficial to developing countries.” (Ibid.)

“Humanitarian aid, mostly, does a lot of good. It saves lives and helps rebuild livelihoods. When you think of this, think 15 million starving people in the Horn of Africa in 2011 who would have mostly perished had it not been for aid.”

“I would say, though, it is important to remember, while all of that is true, for the overwhelming majority of the developing world, the story is good rather than bad. Of course, the stories we focus on are the stories of great distress, but in much of the developing world, where people would certainly like to be richer than they are and they would like to have more opportunities for their kids as they grow up as well, the last 30 years or so have been very, very good, and those countries have had more to do with that than we have.”

All in all,

African development: utility first or ideals first? Perhaps both can work side by side in pushing the development of Africa forward and it is also of great importance that cultural, regional, social and racial preferences should always be taken into account in tailoring particular development strategies and approaches.

Politics: But African development falls under the eyes of global powers like the US and China and might have been and will probably continue to suffer from their power contest and imperialist pursuit.

News Articles:

Worth a read if you have a spare moment:

Summaries to follow…