Date of Graduation

Winter 12-14-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences


International Studies

First Advisor

Olivier Bercault


This project is the study of the differences and similarities between news reporting, using specific media frames, in the US and France in regard to the representation of refugees in newspapers. I gathered a total of 213 articles written during the period of January 1, 2017 until September 30, 2018. Those articles were taken from two major newspapers in the US, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and two major newspapers in France, Le Monde and Le Figaro. For this research, I used content analysis in order to analyze the news articles reporting on the subject of refugees and to discover if important underlying messages were present. I chose major newspapers in the US and France with different political views, conservative and liberal in order to find out if the political tendency would somewhat be reflected in the choice of frames and the choice of certain words. The analysis revealed that political ideology did not influence the framing of refugees in terms of economic and security threats. While the human-interest frame should have been an important frame if not the most important frame related to refugees, this was not the case and was instead overshadowed by the managerialist frame. Even though labels such as liberal and conservative are subjective, newspapers choose how to report events and where they position the articles. This allows them to point to the readers the importance of the article in question.

Nevertheless, the study did not reveal that refugees could be portrayed differently because a newspaper was considered liberal or conservative. In regard to the most used-frames when covering refugees in the news, the newspapers were rather similar in the frequency of using certain frames. They tended to report stories that were consistent with the policies of their host countries and of other countries as well. Both French and US newspapers reported on the refugee crisis both at home and abroad. In contrast, they differed in the use of certain terms, referred to as variables. Those terms were Islam/Muslim, integration/assimilation, and also using the term migrant/immigrant instead of refugee. The frequency of using certain terms were more predominant in the US newspapers and therefore set them apart.