Richard Broughton Profile picture
Aug 30, 2018 21 tweets 7 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Thread: How are UK online news outlets covering #Brexit in 2018? More analysis, with more data and charts!

Part 4: **Is news outlets’ focus on abstract concepts a reason voter opinions are slow to shift?**

(AKA ‘Who cares about Brexit’s impact on the media industry anyway’)
I also did an analytical piece on whether it was plausible that overspending swung the EU referendum result – if you’re interested, it’s here:

TLDR – the answer is “it’s certainly possible”
Anyway, to the topic: In terms of headlines across 2000 #Brexit items, 'No deal' dominates (insofar as 7% of headlines can dominate anything). In not too distant second place, customs at 5%, and in third, immigration, at 3% of headlines.
Note these are (on the whole) slightly smaller numbers than we saw in the previous pieces of analysis around MPs. Theresa May was cited in ~15% of headlines, Boris Johnson in 2%, David Davis in 2%...
While this isn’t an exhaustive list of topics, comparing to the references to prominent MPs is interesting – BBC is more likely to lead on a topic-based story than an MP-led piece, particularly compared to other outlets (notably the Mail, Mirror, Sun, Buzzfeed).
Let’s have a look at the contents of these articles (1300 subset of them), does the story change? Well, a little.
Customs now leads, being mentioned in some form in 46% of articles. No Deal and Single Market come in second & third, at just over 30% of #Brexit items, with migration fourth at 23% of stories - Northern Ireland is just behind.
But also, Free Trade (19%), Tariffs (18%). Red tape, despite being a mainstay of many an EU-critical article pre-referendum, only mentioned in 3% of pieces…
So what else isn’t being covered. Well, sorry people in the creative sector, you’re not being mentioned very much. Well, who cares about those people anywa… oh hang on, that’s my industry.
But also, the Nuclear Industry – 2%. Science – 4%. Fishing – 4%. Aviation - 4%. Automotive - 6%...
This I suspect, may be key – and likely influencing the very slow changes we’ve been seeing in public perception. If articles deal with the abstract (customs, migration, free trade), and not with the practicalities (i.e. the sectors that readers work in)...
...perhaps it is little surprise that attitudes to #Brexit are slow to shift.
At outlet-level, the BBC, as a whole, reflects specific issues more frequently than its peers. Perhaps partly due to the fact that it doesn’t focus on opinion-led editorials, but BBC leads on references to Customs, #SingleMarket, Northern Ireland.
The Sun, however, is way below average on ‘Customs’ references, and above average on Migration. The Mail has noticeable skews towards ‘No Deal’, ‘Free Trade’ and ‘Northern Ireland’, and leads on ‘Jobs’ as a theme.
The #NHS – you may note – is oddly low on the list, with the Sun particularly unlikely to reference in its Brexit pieces.
At the low coverage end of the issue spectrum, the Mail is more likely to reference ‘Sovereignty’, ‘WTO’ and (interestingly) £350m per week, while the BBC has better than average coverage of Aviation and Fishing sectors – alongside Border Checks.
The Guardian is particularly likely to reference Science and Technology relative to other news sites, while Buzzfeed picks out the Nuclear industry more than others.
If I’m honest, what surprised me was how frequently specific #Brexit issues were mentioned in BBC News. My personal perception from reading its articles has been that BBC News Online has been less likely to challenge the government narrative than certain other news outlets…
…However, perhaps this is confirmation bias on my side? While the data doesn’t refute the idea (not examining how concepts are presented), it certainly doesn’t support it. The BBC has wider topical coverage – on average – across its #Brexit items.
So, needs further investigation – seems like an analysis of the tone and sentiment of articles is the next (more challenging) analytical step.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Richard Broughton

Richard Broughton Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @Richard_Ampere

Sep 2, 2018
Thread: How are UK online news outlets covering #Brexit in 2018? More analysis, with more data and charts!

Part 5: **Balance in Brexit reporting**

Which outlets are more positive about #Brexit, and which are more negative?
Running the numbers, it seems that the BBC's articles are most likely to skew positive about Brexit, while the Independent is the most negative.

In the middle, the Guardian and the Mail (the latter possibly due to MoS vs DM stances).
So, how did I reach this conclusion? Readers of previous threads will know that I’ve been analysing the headlines of 2,000 Brexit articles and body text of 1300 items published since Jan 2018.
Read 21 tweets
Aug 24, 2018
Thread: How are UK online news outlets covering #Brexit in 2018? An analysis, with data and charts!

Part 3: Who’s outperforming the Shadow Cabinet in terms of influencing the #Brexit debate?

Answer: A small handful of Conservative & Labour Backbench MPs...

For previous pieces (and methodology), see:

DExEU vs Shadow DExEU: and

Cabinet vs Shadow Cabinet:
So in yesterday's analysis, we saw how the Labour Frontbench had failed to drive column inches across online news outlets. Today, I look at how the Backbenchers and @LibDems are influencing the #Brexit debate.
Read 24 tweets
Aug 23, 2018
Thread: How are UK online news outlets covering #Brexit in 2018? An analysis, with data and charts!

Part 2: **Cabinet vs Shadow Cabinet**

#Labour #Conservatives

Again, usual spiel on being conducted in personal capacity
I’ll start off with saying that this really isn’t looking great for the Shadow Cabinet… So for the faint of heart or easily enraged, look away now. 1/
Across ~2000 news headlines on #Brexit since Jan 18, there were 463 references to Conservative Cabinet ministers, and just 48 for their Shadow counterparts.

In other words, 91% of news headline references to Cabinet-level MPs were to Government politicians. 2/
Read 19 tweets
Aug 22, 2018
Thread: How are UK online news outlets covering #Brexit in 2018? An analysis, with data and charts!

Round 1: **DExEU vs Shadow DExEU**

Like the piece on referendum overspend, all conducted in a personal capacity. I mean, how else would I spend my weekends and evenings...

This is intended to be the first of a selection of pieces of analysis quantifying different aspects of #Brexit coverage in UK news media, so I’ll be covering different angles in future threads.

See appendix for methodology. 2/
Firstly, looking at 2000 #Brexit news headlines from 9 news outlets since Jan 18, I’ve searched for each of the current and previous @Conservatives DExEU ministers and their @UKLabour shadow counterparts. 3/
Read 16 tweets
Aug 1, 2018
Could the Vote Leave overspend have swung the EU referendum?
- A thread combining #Brexit and #AdvertisingEffectiveness analysis – conducted in a personal capacity.

Here goes…
Thanks to the work of journalists like @carolecadwalla , the @CommonsCMS Fake News investigation and @ElectoralCommUK, we now have more insight into the advertising metrics from campaigns run on Facebook during the EU referendum on behalf of Vote Leave
The @ElectoralCommUK found that Vote Leave “worked to a common plan” with BeLeave and thus exceeded its statutory spending limit -…
Read 23 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!