Better off without You? How the British Media Portrayed EU Citizens in Brexit News

Citations of this article
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
Get full text


The United Kingdom is the first country to withdraw its membership from the European Union (EU). Immigration featured high on the Brexit news agenda and EU citizens’ rights to work and live in the United Kingdom are likely to be affected by the country’s exit from the EU. This study analyzes how salient EU citizens were in Brexit news, and investigates whether there was a relationship between the negative portrayal of EU citizens and the type of news outlet. The analysis is based on 19,367 news stories published between June 1, 2015, and June 23, 2016. Automated content analysis was used to determine whether EU citizens were mentioned. The results do not reveal a divide between tabloids and broadsheets, but between national and regional papers. It is only in regional papers from England and Wales that EU citizens were more likely to be mentioned if the tone of a news story was more negative. The findings also suggest that the news media presented the Brexit referendum as a vote about migration in general rather than about intra-EU migration.




Walter, S. (2019). Better off without You? How the British Media Portrayed EU Citizens in Brexit News. International Journal of Press/Politics, 24(2), 210–232.

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free