We are all set to begin. A detailed timeline is established, literature review is in progress and we are all excited about getting started. During these first weeks of designing the research process and after long but exciting team meetings in the office, our brains are flooded with ideas; so much that I personally reach a point where it is the middle of the night and I have to force myself to put the pen down and turn off my laptop. I just love these days.
This is the very first phase of our research project, where it all starts, and, as it is clearly described in our objectives, we will be conducting content analysis to understand how Greek media portray immigration and asylum issues. Our aim here is to convert media content into measurable data that will help us answer the research questions we have set. But then, when we say “Greek media”, we obviously do not mean all Greek media.
In short, we need a sample. A sample of different media outlets (print, TV & online), selected on specific criteria, their circulation, viewership or number of visits and/or their different political orientation, in a way that is representative, as much as possible, of the dominant political spectrum.
Since there is no extra budget to spend on a news clipping service, Christina and I will be doing the daily media monitoring. Which, obviously, is a time consuming task but the good thing about it is that it will give us a coherent understanding of the daily news agenda about immigration. At the same time, this means we need to think of the practicalities; first, having full and easy access to the selected media outlets (either online on through the university library) is essential; second, we need to create a record or storage system that will make constant and unlimited access to our sample material (news articles, TV newscasts etc.) feasible.
Once we have decided on the criteria, we spend a couple of weeks in testing if the sample of media outlets and the storage system actually work, mainly from a practical perspective. In this process, we found out that some of the outlets we had chosen at the beginning, for example, one of the TV channels we had selected, did not provide online full access to TV newscasts. We changed it with another one, which had almost the same viewership but was more easily accessible.
A couple of weeks later, decisions on the sample of media outlets are final: Five newspapers on their online versions, Efsyn (left-wing), Ta Nea (centre-left), I Kathimerini (centre-right), Proto Thema (right-wing, populist) and Dimokratia (right-wing) under the criteria of first, their political affiliation, and second, their circulation rates, with three of them (Ta Nea, Kathimerini and Proto Thema) being among the outlets with the highest circulation rates. Two TV channels, Alpha TV and ANTENNA, among those with the highest viewership when the research began, in February 2020. Two online newsportals, zougla.gr and iefimerida.gr, among those with the highest number of visitors, according to Alexa Traffic Rank index. Sampling period begins on February 15, 2020 but more decisions need to be made on that. Next, a research protocol and a codebook for content analysis need to be developed.
But, more on that in our next posts. – 🙂