Communication ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-17-2019


In times of crisis, online news media, on whose reports people heavily rely for information and interpretation of complex European affairs, play an important role in production of knowledge and negotiation of the meanings of the European Union’s response to the “migrant crisis” in 2015 when more than million migrants reached Europe after fleeing their home countries. This research project examines how European online news outlets constructed notions of borders, space, mobility and migration, and thus promoted particular institutionalized discourses on inclusion and exclusion with profound ideological implications. A secondary goal of this research is to explore the particular ways in which new media technologies enable journalists and audiences to co-construct such discourses. The study is grounded in framing theory with the particular emphasis on a multimodal discourse approach to framing, with the aim to address the interrelationship of different semiotic modes in the meaning-making process.

By applying multimodal approach to framing analysis, the analysis of coverage of the migration “crisis” of 2015, in the periods in June and September of 2015 when Hungary first announced the fence erection on its southern external EU border with Serbia, and then sealed the border-crossings, in five European news outlets (Britain’s The Guardian, Germany’s Deutsche Welle, Hungary’s Magyar Hirlap, Croatia’s Jutarnji list, and Serbia’s Večernje novosti) revealed three dominant frames in news discourse across media outlets: “borders as spaces for managing national and EU security,” “borders as lived spaces,” and “borders as politically negotiated spaces.” While co-participating in the news framing of borders, readers supported the news frames of journalists and also offered complementary and even challenging narratives.

Lastly, this research elucidates how the news framing, through structural features of news reporting and the interplay of communication modalities, enables particular relations of power and relates to broader discourses about the European Union, as a politicized space of both inclusion and exclusion, that favor particular perspectives and thus, reproduce larger ideologies of Orientalism, xenophobia, racism, and balkanism.




framing, online news, multimodality, migration, borders, EU

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Communication and Journalism

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Ilia Rodriguez

Second Committee Member

Dr. David Weiss

Third Committee Member

Dr. Susana Martinez Guillem

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Melissa Bokovoy