Migration and the media

The “migration crisis”, which peaked in 2015-16, posed a fundamental challenge to European states, their alliance, and to the ethico-political frames that drive public political discourse and acts within nation-states and the European Union as a whole. At the moment of “crisis”, media were full with images of migrants fleeing war, suffering, or losing their lives during their journey. Yet Europe’s response has been mixed and the plans for dealing with this crisis were then, and are even more now, uncertain and uneven.

Final Report

This report presents the main findings of our cross-European analysis of the press across eight European countries, as well as in the two main European Arabic language newspapers. This was a systematic content analysis which focussed on three peak moments in the crisis, in the second half of 2015.

Developing a content analysis of influential press in a six-month period across eight European countries plus two of Europe’s major Arab language newspapers, this report offers a cross-national comparative perspective on the dynamics of news reporting. The study consequently provides a comprehensive view of variations in the representation of migrants and refugees across national press cultures and across time, offering reflections on the implications these have on European media as spaces of representation for distant others.


This research project from LSE’s Department of Media and Communications has, among other things, focussed on understanding how the different histories and politics of European countries shape the variety of attitudes towards the crisis.

The research builds on the Department’s earlier work on migration and the media, and on the consequences of media’s role in shaping imaginaries and policies of migration.

The project was designed to:

  • look for patterns in the many different media treatments of  the crisis in the UK, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Serbia, Spain; 
  • conduct fieldwork in local languages close to the sites of entry and encounters between migrants and local populations;
  • consider how media in different countries should use images of migrants, and to what end;
  • ask what is the future of the ideal of ‘hospitality’ in Europe?

The Department has launched a report, produced a number of publications – including 8 peer reviewed articles and a Council of Europe report – and presented its outputs to conferences and public events’ audiences in the UK, Europe, and across the world. 



Professor Lilie Chouliaraki

Lilie Chouliaraki is Professor of Media and Communications. She joined the LSE in 2007 as Chair in Media and Communications.

Her main interest is in media ethics, broadly understood as the moral implications of mediated communication in contemporary public life. I have published extensively on the nature of mediated public discourse, particularly on the link between mediation, social action and cosmopolitan citizenship. 

More information can be found in her profile page

Myria Georgiou

Professor Myria Georgiou

Myria Georgiou is Professor at the Dept. of Media and Communications, LSE. She has a PhD in Sociology (LSE), an MSc in Journalism (Boston University) and a BA in Sociology (Panteion University, Athens). Her research focuses on migration and diaspora, media and the city, and the ways in which media contribute to constructions of identity and meanings of cultural diversity. For more than 18 years she has been conducting and leading cross-national and transurban research across Europe and between British and American cities. She has also worked as a journalist for BBC World Service, Greek press, and the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation.

More information can be found in her profile page.


Dr Ellen Helsper

Ellen Helsper is Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor in the Media and Communications Department at the LSE. Her current research interests include new media audiences; digital inclusion; mediated interpersonal communication; and quantitative and qualitative methodological developments in media research.

More information can be found in her profile page.


Dr Rafal Zaborowski

Rafal Zaborowski is an LSE Fellow in the Department of Media and Communications. In his research he has been interested in the critical approach, the co-evolution of media audiences and media institutions, as well as in innovative, critical, qualitative methods of academic inquiry. His doctoral thesis is an empirical analysis of Japanese audience engagements in a social and cultural context and an attempt to theoretically reformulate the concept of audience practices for both Japanese studies as well as audience and music studies. His previous research at Tohoku University critically approached the concept of ordinariness and youth values in popular song content.

Student Interns

Zuzana Brezinová, Leah Selig Chauhan, Antonios Dimitriadis, Joelle Eid, Lisa Elkhoury, Poliana Geha, Shreya Goenka, Safaa Halahla, Róbert Hegedűs, Gyorgyi Horvath, Seema Huneidi, Rosanna Hutchings, Leticia Ishibashi-Poppenwimmer, Götz Kadow, Kaylah Kleczka, Kristina Kolbe, Afroditi Koulaxi, Jan Krotký, Ana Lomtadze, Rita Nemeth, Sadichchha Pokharel, Corinne Schweizer, Karim Shukr, Ema Stastna, Sanja Vico, Pauline Vidal, and Felicity Ward, with guidance by Kristina Kolbe and Tijana Stolic.