Europe in Transition : Transnational Television News and European Identity
Abstract: Over the last two decades, Europe has experienced profound political transformations, resulting in new challenges for the relationship between national and transnational identities. In parallel with these changes, national media systems across the world have been put under pressure from globalization, reflected in the vast increase in the number of transnational news channels operating on the global market. This dissertation explores the news content of two transnational broadcasters, BBC World News and Euronews, and analyzes discursive interconnections between political transformations and collective identity in news reporting. The thesis is divided into two main parts. The initial part is devoted to news forms, and analyzes program scheduling, generic structures and thematic and geographical prioritizations, using both quantitative and qualitative methods. The analyses show that BBC World and Euronews epitomize different news outlooks. Whereas Euronews mainly focuses on news pertaining to Europe and the EU, BBC World’s content is more geographically varied. In addition, the two differ greatly concerning generic structures, which is most evident in the considerable lack of live elements in Euronews. The subsequent part consists of two case studies of political transformations in Europe: The 2004 enlargement of the EU and the ‘Orange Revolution’ in Ukraine. By using critical discourse analysis (CDA), the dissertation reveals that the channels drew upon references to history in the reporting, echoing old but well-established discursive binaries between East and West. While the EU enlargement coverage was centered on the dissolution of political differences, the reporting on the Orange Revolution involved renewed tensions between East and West in Europe. The dissertation concludes that westernization, temporalization, and references to the EU’s spatial boundaries are central discursive resources for the articulation of European identity in transnational news.
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