The Banking Crisis: Audience Studies
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This chapter draws on the findings of 16 focus group discussions conducted in Glasgow, Surrey and the Midlands over the summer of 2009. The focus groups were drawn from ‘naturally occurring’ groups of people and discussed participants’ media consumption and understanding of the banking crisis. The research revealed that interest in the banking crisis was high and that in trying to understand events participants drew on knowledge of previous crises, personal experience, books and conversations with friends and family. However it was clear the mass media were the key information source for most people. This could be seen in the range of actors that that participants saw as responsible for the crisis, what they thought caused the crisis, their views on the bailouts and knowledge of reforms to the sector—all of which closely corresponded to what appeared in media coverage. The findings therefore suggest that the media had a powerful ability to influence the parameters of audience understanding and attitudes towards the crisis.
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