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ECPR Journals Virtual Special Issue

The Role of Sensationalism, Tabloidisation and Diversity in News Coverage of Immigration and Anti-immigrant Sentiments: Public and Commercial Television News Compared

Political Psychology
Laura Jacobs
University of Leuven
Laura Jacobs
University of Leuven

Exposure to immigration news is considered as an important contextual factor shaping perceptions about immigration. The conventional wisdom is that the salience of immigration on television, through mechanisms of agenda-setting, affects public evaluations of immigration as an important issue. However, considering that studies consistently report underrepresentation of immigrants in the news, this explanation is not as sound as it may seem. Little research has addressed the specific features of television news content that may increase the issue salience of immigration. In this paper, the aim is contribute to the debate on the issue salience of immigration by more closely examining the nature of television news content of immigration. It is expected that television news reports on immigration and immigrants in a sensational manner, and that especially these characteristics, rather than the pure amount of immigration coverage, induce feelings of threat towards immigrants, and increase the issue salience of immigration.
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