Find an article in which the word ‘refugee’ is mentioned – make notes about how refugees, migrants, asylum seekers, etc are talked about. Chose:

Oh, maybe it was supposed to be a British newspaper – ah well, pretty familiar!

Video 1: Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the UK Press

Methodologically – need large amounts of data, frequency data, hunt for co-occurrences, annotation/grouping, quantification and statistical significance.

Merits – helps us get ‘the big picture’, identify the ‘aboutness’/areas of interest that can be interrogated – can work qualitatively/quantitatively and check on ‘gut instinct’

Core terms – keywords, cluster, collocation, semantic prosody, discourse prosody.

Video 2: Building the Corpus and Initial Analysis

In UK universities is access to many newspapers, but need to define the keywords [x OR x OR x AND NOT x]

How derive a query? Collected a quick corpus of texts from a pilot study, then compared to ‘general English’ to define the ‘aboutness’, then used keywords/intuitions/concordancing to include/exclude from collection. Data was split into ‘tabloids’ and ‘broadsheets’ (interesting distinction). More data in the broadsheets, but articles in broadsheets = longer (so they are not ‘more obsessed’ about them.

Finding ‘topoi’ = finding key ‘theme’ in the data. How do ‘collocates’ (associated words) help construct that theme?

Statistical significance important. Red = tabloids; blue = broadsheets.



VIDEO 3: Tabloids, Broadsheets and Key Clusters

High probability for collocates. Red = tabloids, blue = tabloids; black = equal.


Related to numbers/quantity – different ways of doing it, but both speak in quantity metaphors, and also in the idea of ‘plight’ (based on number of collocates).quantity

To look with the word ‘illegal’ – manually checked it, then right-sorted to see what followed the word illegal. Identifying origin, ethnicity, religion, age, type of work, etc.


Number of clusters – some are more ‘emblematic’ of tabloids…


Equivalence is being ‘forced’ – terrorism, crime, fraud, etc. all being brought together in the discourse, rather than representing ‘reality’.

How many occurrences per million ‘normalised’ amongst words? Expect to see more in the tabloids than the broadsheets.


VIDEO 4: IN FOCUS. The expression ‘pose as’.

Who uses the term ‘Pose As’ in relation to RASIM? Tabloids use it 8 x times more than broadsheets…

Beggars, crooks, etc. are identified as ‘posing as RASIM’ = taken ‘as fact’, and therefore positive stance towards ‘tougher measures’ – this is particularly in the tabloids. It’s there in the broadsheets too, but the opposite view is presented (if with less words).

Identifying problems in the asylum system by police/reporters ‘posing as’ RASIM.

The tabloids focus particularly upon asylum seekers ‘posing’ as nurses, etc…

Criminals may pose as RASIM to harm RASIM – also in tabloids, but very low numbers…

VIDEO 5: Summing Up

Focus upon words ‘suffocated’ and ‘drowned’ – focus upon whether they were represented as ‘illegal’ – directly (illegal immigrants) or indirectly (sneaking)?


Dictionary may have a range of different meanings, but the press gives a range of terms that ‘mean similar’ … used in a particular way continuously.

Remember that there are distinctions within newspapers, rather than labelling ‘tabloids’. Question how helpful your distinctions are.

Move between largescale analysis, and closer/more-detailed readings of the text.

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