Date of Graduation

Spring 5-21-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences


International Studies

First Advisor

Dorothy Kidd

Second Advisor

Lucia Cantero


This research study analyzes the media’s representation of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK during the European ‘refugee crisis’ between 2015 and 2016. The research question guiding the study was: during the European refugee crisis between 2015 and 2016, how were refugees and asylum seekers framed by British news media, both textually and visually? The study is guided by the theory of framing, which assumes that the media chooses which information to report on and how to present it to a mass population. A content analysis was performed on online news articles published in two UK quality newspapers, The Guardian and The Times, during a one year period from August 31, 2015 to August 31, 2016. 20 articles were selected from each publication for the textual analysis (N=40), and of the selected articles, 15 headline images were chosen from each publication for the visual analysis (N=30). The content analysis identified 8 textual frames and 3 visual frames that were used by the publications in their coverage of the refugee crisis. The results showed that The Guardian made most use of the administration frame, which focuses on policy debates and political efforts to manage the influx of refugees and asylum seekers. The Times, on the other hand, made most use of the criminality frame, which portrayed refugees and asylum seekers as criminals and threats to public safety, as well as the border security frame, which presented the influx of refugees and asylum seekers as an uncontrollable mass ‘flooding’ into Europe; however, human interest and administration frames were also frequent in their news coverage. The study is valuable because it provides an insight into how public narratives can be constructed and manipulated by the mainstream media, which can ultimately influence public attitudes and behaviors towards newly arrived people.