Through this research we identified a network of approximate 40 media experts, journalists, bloggers, and NGO workers that provided a general image of the Nordic media perspective on the new migration wave, of the impact of the media told stories, and of the untold stories about the newcomers. At the same time, the experts supported us in identifying the main media outlets that communicate with the general public on issues related to migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. Analyzing the media materials published by 12 media outlets in 2016 (over 9000 articles), we identified the main stories that are told, the main topics presented to the general public, and the identities the migrants received in the media.
First, the main results, both from the survey and the content analysis, show strong similarities among the media from the four Nordic countries in the stories they told, in how they portray the migrants, and in the way in which they report. Thus, the “average” portrait and the “average” story of a new migrant is a “refugee” coming from Syria, more a “victim” than a “criminal”, who faces the asylum seeking process, but also integration issues in the destination country, and whose situation is even more problematic when he / she is a minor.
Second, as both the survey and content analysis results show, the media outlets are more “negative” in presenting the issues regarding the new migration wave. The sentiment analysis could only show that more sentences from the articles’ titles and leads are negative, and less neutral or positive (except, in the case of Norwegian media, in which more sentences were neutral than negative). The survey results show that most of the experts consider that the media present more the negative aspects of migration – economic disadvantages, criminal and security issues. Thus, the experts’ opinions could be seen as complementary information to the sentiment analysis, explaining the predominance of the negative feelings from the analyzed articles.
Third, from the survey results, we could learn that most of the time media talks about migrants, without giving them enough voice, while local or national politicians have the stronger voice in the media. Also, we observed that media miss the stories regarding the benefits of migration, the migrants’ rights, and the personal stories of the migrants. This idea is supported by the content analysis results which show that the main sub-themes, so what media discuss when mentioning migrants, are the asylum seeking process, integration issues, and concerns about immigrant children. However, the content analysis results are limited and these cannot present for sure that the same issues are missed in the media, but no main theme or sub-theme emerged around words such as “benefits”, “advantages”, etc. that could describe the positive part of migration.
Finally, through the survey we also targeted to understand the expectations in regards to the NGOs’ work. Thus, the experts expect from the NGOs working in the migration field to provide to the general public a honest image over the refugee crisis, to also show the “moral duty” the people and states have to help those running for their life, to increase their advocacy role, to be a reliable source of information on the issues regarding migrants, and to provide more stories that could “complicate” the picture provided by the media, showing perspectives they did not catch or refuse to talk about.
These results help the Story Seekers team to develop the workshop on storytelling and advocacy developed for NGO workers, public employees and other experts from the field of migration. These results are also presented to the participants in the workshop and their networks to be used while they are developing storytelling strategies for their organizations and for their work with media and decision makers. The results help both the Story Seekers team and the workshop participants in being aware of the told stories about migrants; in understanding, thus, the image the general public has over the new wave of migration from the media; in identifying the untold stories from their communities; and in developing their storytelling strategies for combating discrimination, intolerance, hate speech, and for promoting the human rights, fairness, tolerance, diversity and inclusion.