This book discusses the framing of referendum campaigns in the news media, focusing particularly on the case of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. Using a comprehensive content analysis of print and broadcast coverage as well as in-depth interviews with broadcast journalists and their sources during this campaign, it provides an account of how journalists construct the frames that define their coverage of contested political campaigns. It views the mediation process from the perspective of those who participate directly in it, namely journalists and political communicators. It puts forward an original theoretical model to account more broadly for frame building in the context of referendums in Western media systems, using insights from this and from other cases. The book makes an original contribution to the study of media frames during referendums.

The news out of Newgate Chapter 11 The news out of Newgate after the 1715 Jacobite rebellion Rachel Weil T ‘ here is a sinister practice on foot to frighten clergymen from their benefices.’ So warned George Flint, the author of the Jacobitish weekly The Shift Shifted during the summer of 1716. The practice in question was to tell divines of the Church of England that they should flee because someone had accused them of treason. To prove the point, Flint printed a letter ‘counterfeited as from a prisoner in Newgate’ that had been lately received by a ‘divine

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of the specific situation described here. The script of what usually happens when one does the laundry and the personal experience of doing it oneself not only provide referents for abstract words in the text, like ‘things’ and ‘facilities’, but also help understand why ‘at first the procedure will seem complicated’. The concept of doing the laundry frames our understanding of the text: it provides us with an idea to help us organise our making sense of what is going on (Gamson and Modigliani, 1989). 12 12 Framing referendum campaigns in the news Cappella and

in Framing referendum campaigns in the news
Towards a frame- building model

aim to address the call made by Aalberg et al. (2012: 173) for a more comprehensive investigation of the contextual conditions that might give rise to the strategic game frame (and also to the reproduction of political sources’ advocacy frames) in the news, by focusing particularly here on referendums as a particular type of political event. This chapter will argue that, according to existing research, the factors which are proposed in this frame-​building model as potentially playing a role in journalists’ reproduction of their sources’ frames and their employment

in Framing referendum campaigns in the news
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cross-party Stronger In campaign (with then prime minister David Cameron in the lead). Labour and the Liberal Democrats were also in favour of remaining in the EU but were less visible than the Conservatives in the media. Although there was not one-to-one correspondence between political parties and the two official campaigns, and this time members of 150 150 Framing referendum campaigns in the news the same party competed against each other, the political actors involved in the two camps were again pre-​established political opponents before the referendum, with

in Framing referendum campaigns in the news

84 4 The media framing of the referendum This chapter explores the relative prominence of different frames in the news coverage of the campaign through content analysis in two media: television and print newspapers. It first operationalises each of the frames identified, by explaining what elements in the texts were used as indicators, or evidence of the presence of each frame in the analysis. It then discusses the selection of outlets for each medium and the samples analysed. Overall the analysis included sixty-​four hours of news and current affairs

in Framing referendum campaigns in the news

104 5 The process of frame-​building How journalists frame political events in the news will vary depending on the combination of a range of possible factors specific to journalists themselves, the organisations they work for, their occupational routines, the media system, and the values held by the specific society (Shoemaker and Reese, 2014), as explained in ­chapter 1. The challenge for researchers ‘is to identify the conditions that determine the degree of journalistic frame setting’ (Brüggemann, 2014: 61), namely the degree to which journalists are likely

in Framing referendum campaigns in the news

as part of coalitions. Although the three parties agreed on their stance against Scottish independence, there were considerable underlying political differences between them, because they represented different positions in the political spectrum and were essentially political opponents contesting for government in London and Scotland. There was, therefore, a perceived 62 Framing referendum campaigns in the news 62 need among journalists and the parties themselves to have balance between their individual perspectives. Each party took part in Better Together

in Framing referendum campaigns in the news
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in the public domain, and more specifically in the mass media, which in modern democracies are the key platforms of political deliberation and opinion formation. This book analyses mediation practices during a recent 2 2 Framing referendum campaigns in the news referendum as an example, to help us understand the broader process by which the mass media define or frame what a contested political event is about. This book aims to explain the media framing process in referendum campaigns as a distinctive category of political event. It looks at how the way

in Framing referendum campaigns in the news

considered national sovereignty from the UK in 2014. This chapter discusses these events and provides the context within which the frames that will be analysed in ­chapters 3, 4 and 5 may be located and understood. 34 34 Framing referendum campaigns in the news Scotland in the United Kingdom and devolution Scotland’s relationship with its British neighbours, and particularly with England, was shaped over many centuries. The wars with England before the union, the growth and decline of the British empire and industrial economy, the relevant civic autonomy Scotland

in Framing referendum campaigns in the news