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    Immigration and the influence of the media

    When you hear the words immigration, asylum seekers, and refugees, what words come into your mind? What do you think are the most common words used in national newspapers when reporting on issues of immigration, asylum seekers and refugees? 

    In August 2013 the Migration Observatory published a new report on language used by the British press to describe immigration. 

    ‘Portrayals of Immigrants, Migrants, Asylum Seekers and Refugees in National British Newspapers′ reports on a comprehensive analysis of more than 40 million words used by British national newspapers to describe immigration over the past three years. 

    Key findings from the research include:

    • The most common descriptor for the word IMMIGRANTS across all newspaper types is ILLEGAL, which was used in 10% of mid market stories, 6.6% of tabloid stories and 5% of broadsheet stories.
    • There was a consistent focus on numbers, with words like MILLION and THOUSANDS appearing across all newspaper types
    • Other consistent collocates for IMMIGRANTS in tabloids include words referring to movement such as INTO, STAY and STOP and also include words which indicate concerns around security or legality such as TERRORIST, SUSPECTED and SHAM.

    We have traditionally thought that discrimination is conscious, and can be eliminated by raising understanding. People who know better, do the ‘right thing’. But unfortunately, people make choices that discriminate without even realising it, because of unconscious bias that influences attitudes, choices and behaviours. The impact of the media on generating unconscious bias can be profound, and providing training to help staff to recognise and tackle this bias is essential.

    To download publicity on unconscious bias training, click hereTo download the report, click here

    To download the report, click here

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