Who wrote this? The role of bylines in news coverage of immigrants and refugees

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Department or Administrative Unit


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This study investigated the relationship between news coverage of immigrants and refugees and identifiability of stories’ authors. Quantitative content analysis was used in comparative approach across regions that constitute borderlands between first world and developing countries: the state of Arizona in the United States of America and Italy in the European Union. The content of 800 news stories and 1470 online comments published by four major newspapers in Arizona and Italy in 2013 was examined. The data suggest that in the Italian news outlets, which produced equal shares of ‘anonymous’ and ‘signed’ stories, articles that carried no byline – i.e., whose author was identifiable neither as a journalist nor as a wire service – tended to portray immigrants and refugees more negatively than stories carrying a byline did. No statistically significant relationship was found between representations of immigrants and byline in the sample of stories published by the pair of Arizona dailies. The degree of antipathy for migrants expressed in online comments varied in relation to story byline only in the subsample of online comments posted by readers of the US newspapers.


This article was originally published in Journal of Applied Journalism & Media Studies. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Journal of Applied Journalism & Media Studies


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