Victims or Aggresors? Framing Romanian Migrants and Crime in Two British Newspapers

  • Valentina Marinescu
  • Ramona Marinache


The research question at which the present article attempts to answer is: What are the British journalistic procedures used in representing migration and crime in the specific case of Romanian migrants? The article uses quantitative content analysis as the main method of research. The sample of texts was made up of 117 articles published in two (tabloid) British newspapers (the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror) in the time-period January 1–December 21, 2015. The violent acts of Romanian migrants that were covered by the UK press were extremely diverse. They ranged from robbery, murder and begging to prostitution and medical malpractice. At the same time, Romanian migrants were portrayed not only as “offenders” but also as “victims” of the violent acts covered by the two newspapers.


Migration Violence Media coverage Framing United Kingdom 


  1. Artwick, C. G., & Gordon, M. T. (1998). Portrayal of US cities by daily newspapers. Newspaper Research Journal, 19(1), 54–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barak, G. (Ed.). (1994). Media, process, and the social construction of crime: Studies in newsmaking criminology. London: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  3. Baran, S. J., & Davis, D. K. (2011). Mass communication theory: Foundations, ferment, and future. Belmont/Wadsworth/Andover: Cengage Learning.Google Scholar
  4. Berelson, B. (1952). Content analysis in communication research. New York: Hafner.Google Scholar
  5. Bird, S. E., & Dardenne, R. W. (1997). Myth, chronicle and story. In D. A. Berkowitz (Ed.), Social meanings of news: A text-reader (pp. 333–350). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  6. Blackwood, N. (2014). International investigations: Current challenges to British policing. The Journal of Homicide and Major Incident Investigation, 9(1), 39–54.Google Scholar
  7. Boykoff, M. T. (2008). The cultural politics of climate change discourse in UK tabloids. Political Geography, 27(5), 549–569.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cavender, G., & Mulcahy, A. (1998). Trial by fire: Media constructions of corporate deviance. Justice Quarterly, 15(4), 697–717.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chermak, S. M. (1994). Body count news: How crime is presented in the news media. Justice Quarterly, 11(4), 561–582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chibnall, S. (1981). The production of knowledge by crime reporters. In S. Cohen & J. Young (Eds.), The Manufacture of news: Social problems, deviance and the mass media (pp. 75–97). Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  11. Chiricos, T., Padgett, K., & Gertz, M. (2000). Fear, TV news, and the reality of crime. Criminology, 38(3), 755–786.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cohen, S. (2002). Folk devils and moral panics: The creation of the mods and rockers. Hove: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  13. Connell, I. (1998). Mistaken identities: Tabloid and broadsheet news discourse. Javnost-The Public, 5(3), 11–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dawar, A. (2013, February 27). How Romanian criminals terrorise our streets. Express, Accessed 3 Mar 2016.
  15. Diefenbach, D. L., & West, M. D. (2001). Violent crime and Poisson regression: A measure and a method for cultivation analysis. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 45(3), 432–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ditton, J., & Duffy, J. (1983). Bias in the newspaper reporting of crime news. British Journal of Criminology, 23, 159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Doob, Anthony N. 1985. “The many realities of crime.” In Perspective in criminal law edited by A. N. Doob and E. L. Greenspan, 103–122. Aurora: Canada Law Book.Google Scholar
  18. Dorfman, L., Woodruff, K., Chavez, V., & Wallack, L. (1997). Youth and violence on local television news in California. American Journal of Public Health, 87(8), 1311–1316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Doyle, J. (2013, February 27). 28,000 Romanians are held for crimes in UK over 5 years… and there are only 68,000 of them living here! Daily Mail, Accessed 13 Mar 2016.
  20. Edelman, M. (1988). Constructing the political spectacle. Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  21. Entman, R. M. (1993). Framing: Toward clarification of a fractured paradigm. Journal of Communication, 43(4), 51–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ericson, R. V., Baranek, P. M., & Chan, J. B. L. (1991). Representing order: Crime, law, and justice in the news media. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Fedler, F., & Jordan, D. (1982). How emphasis on people affects coverage of crime. Journalism Quarterly, 59(3), 474–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fishman, M. (1981). Police news: Constructing an image of crime. Urban Life, 9(4), 371–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Garofalo, J. (1981). NCCD research review: Crime and the mass media: A selective review of research. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 18(2), 319–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gerbner, G. (1998). Cultivation analysis: An overview. Mass Communication and Society, 1(3–4), 175–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Glassner, B. (2010). The culture of fear: Why Americans are afraid of the wrong things: Crime, drugs, minorities, teen moms, killer kids. Muta: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  28. Grabe, M. E. (1999). Television news magazine crime stories: A functionalist perspective. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 16(2), 155–171.Google Scholar
  29. Graber, D. A. (1980). Crime news and the public. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  30. Jaehnig, W. B., Weaver, D. H., & Fico, F. (1981). Reporting crime and fearing crime in three communities. Journal of Communication, 31(1), 88–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jones, E. E. (1979). The rocky road from acts to dispositions. American Psychologist, 34(2), 107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Katz, E. (1987). Communications research since Lazarsfeld. The Public Opinion Quarterly, 51, S25–S45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Krippendorff, K. (2012). Content analysis: An introduction to its methodology. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  34. Mander, M. S. (1987). Narrative dimensions of the news: Omniscience, prophecy, and morality. Communication, 10(1), 51–70.Google Scholar
  35. Morgan, M., & Shanahan, J. (1997). Two decades of cultivation research: An appraisal and meta-analysis. Annals of the International Communication Association, 20(1), 1–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Payne, T. E. (1997). Describing morphosyntax: A guide for field linguists. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Propp, V. (1984). Theory and history of folklore. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Sieff, E. (2003). Media frames of mental illnesses: The potential impact of negative frames. Journal of Mental Health, 12(3), 259–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Skogan, W. G., & Maxfield, M. G. (1981). Coping with crime. Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  40. Sotirovic, M. (2003). How individuals explain social problems: The influences of media use. Journal of Communication, 53(1), 122–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Stroman, C. A., & Seltzer, R. (1985). Media use and perceptions of crime. Journalism Quarterly, 62(2), 340–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Surette, R. (1998). Media, crime and criminal justice-images and realities. West Wadsworth: An international Thomson Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  43. Tankard, J., Hendrickson, L., Silberman, J., Bliss, K., & Ghanem, S. (1991). Media frames: Approaches to conceptualization and measurement. Paper presented to the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Communication Theory and Methodology Division, Boston.Google Scholar
  44. The Migration Observatory. (2016). Top 6 recent countries of origin for EU migrants, 2011–2015. Accessed 10 May 2017.
  45. Turvill, W. (2015, February 6). ABCs: National daily newspaper circulation January 2015. Press Gazette, Accessed 3 Mar 2016.
  46. Welch, M., Fenwick, M., & Roberts, M. (1998). State managers, intellectuals, and the media: A content analysis of ideology in experts’ quotes in feature newspaper articles on crime. Justice Quarterly, 15(2), 219–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Williams, P., & Dickinson, J. (1993). Fear of crime: Read all about it? The relationship between newspaper crime reporting and fear of crime. The British Journal of Criminology, 33(1), 33–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Zelizer, B., Bird, S. E., Brookes, R., Calabrese, A., Golding, P., Gripsrud, J., & Gulyás, Á. (2000). Tabloid tales: Global debates over media standards. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valentina Marinescu
    • 1
  • Ramona Marinache
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Sociology and Social WorkUniversity of BucharestBucharestRomania
  2. 2.“Lucian Blaga” University of SibiuSibiuRomania

Personalised recommendations