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Media coverage of differentiation in the EU: A cross-country analysis of news reports by EU correspondents

European Union
Media
Differentiation
Hans-Jörg Trenz
Scuola Normale Superiore
Hans-Jörg Trenz
Scuola Normale Superiore
Asimina Michailidou
Universitetet i Oslo
Resul Umit
Universitetet i Oslo

Abstract

EU differentiated integration raises questions of hyper-complexity and expert knowledge that cannot easily be translated into public and media parlance. How do the media translate differentiation in the European Union? One possibility is that journalists professionalise and specialise as experts of EU governance. A second possibility is that journalists lose sight and focus on random details instead of systematically monitoring EU differentiated governance. A third possibility is that journalist would differentiate along national lines and provide mainly news for national audiences and along national criteria of relevance. To test these three scenarios of a developing EU journalism, we draw on close to 1,500 news reports written by the EU correspondents of nine media outlets from Denmark, Germany, and the UK. Focusing on three constructed months between 2015 and 2020, we will analyse the conditions under which (a) differentiation is portrayed as acceptable and (b) it is associated with democracy or dominance in the media. We will also report findings across journalists, media outlets, and countries.