How is TV reporting the Catalan demonstrations in Spain?

July 22, 2015 § Leave a comment

Capture_TVNext 11th September 2015 we will live a new massive demonstration in Catalonia, but this time the political claim will be followed by elections (27th September) that will provably lead to the unilateral declaration of independence from Spain. This week, moderate Catalan right and left parties reached the agreement for this joint-venture now called Junts pel sí (Together for yes). The impression is that there is no way back, after the long story of conflict and failed negotiations on the issue by both parts.

This is a process leaded by non-governmental organizations and civil society associations, which have organized huge political acts during the last five years and are claiming for a referendum, as Scottish did last year. The end of this hot summer in Catalonia will be as convulse as interesting from a political point of view, and there will be media and television channels reporting for major networks. The Catalan right for a referendum is a true challenge to test the European Union state of democracy.

One of the relevant aspects I have research on during the last two years is the great divergences among television narratives and discourses in the Spanish channels when explaining this political process. I do defend that we assisted to a truly depoliticization of the TV coverage through several mechanism like minimizing the agency of citizenship, focusing on political strategies, or just reporting on anecdotes of the demonstration. Today, Television & New Media had published some in this research line focused on the huge march of September 2012.

Masking Political Engagement: Television Coverage of a Mass Demonstration in Barcelona

Enric Castelló, Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Abstract: This article analyzes how statewide and regional public television in Spain handled the demonstration held on September 11, 2012 (the National Day of Catalonia), in Barcelona under the slogan “Catalonia, a New European State.” The author performed a content analysis of fifty-eight news programs and a narrative analysis of eighty-nine stories. The results indicate that the majority of the channels offered limited coverage of the demonstration. The television narratives also minimized the role of citizen agency in the achievement of goals through democratic participation and displayed a depoliticized account. The author argues that the coverage of the march and its consequences resulted in a masking of citizens’ political engagement; far from promoting an understanding of why the march was so massively supported, it instead presented a story on politicians’ strategy. The author relates this case to a wider trend of media coverage of citizens’ protests in a Western, post-democratic context.

Keywords: democracy, demonstrations coverage, mediatization, political conflict, public television, television news

Read more: Television & New Media, 16(6):521-537


A great issue (5.1!) is coming

April 11, 2013 § 3 Comments

We are about to see the next issue of the Catalan Journal of Communication and Cultural Studies. It will start the fifth volume and is containing eight articles and eight book reviews.

This issue is counting with a research on the news report during the Catalan elections in 2010. Nereida Carrillo (Universitat Rovira i Virgili) and Carme Ferré-Pavia (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) are opening with a research work on how news combined entertainment elements and presented a hybridization of genres. Political actors and language uses of media are inquired in order to develop a debate on infotainment and electoral communication.

This article is followed by Elena Oroz (Universitat Rovira i Virgili) studies on early Francoist propaganda documentaries. Oroz offer an insightful text on the documentaries produced by the Sección Femenina at the end of the Civil War (1939) and during the early Francoism (1944). The comparative analysis reveals the changes that occurred in the discourses and images offered about feminity and the role of the women in the Movimiento.

Next work is the one signed by Núria Araüna, Iolanda Tortajada and Arantxa Capdevila (Universitat Rovira i Virgili) about the analysis of the Spanish fiction serial Sin tetas no hay paraíso (STNP). The researchers studied the affective and sexual relationship in the series and realised several focus groups among youngsters to see how they identified with the story and the characters. The authors develop an argument to explain how characters cruelty is not incompatible with the sense of “cool”.

The issue follows with the article of Brian Smith (Purdue University) on the public relation profession in Spain and the adaptation of Grunnig paradigm on excellence. The author extracts some interesting results from a set of interviews with public relation managers about the influence of USA sector on the Spanish professional practices.

The Articles’ section is closed with two added texts. The first is the one of Dimitri Prandner (University of Salzburg) about the presence of young female journalists in Austria and the difference in their role and work conditions regarding their male colleagues. The second is a suggesting text from Isabel Simões about the media coverage of the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. The author analyses the dual process of mediation: the staging of the ceremony and the discursive representations.

Altheide’s thoughts

We are proud to have in this issue the presence of David Altheide‘s (Arizona State University) article ‘Shielding Risk’. This text is an approach to risk communication, media and society, exploring concepts like media logic, politics of fear and surveillance society. The article, which we are sure will became a key text in the field, is included in the Gateway section, as it is extracted from the conference which Altheide gave in 2012 in the Universitat Rovira i Virgili during the 3rd Congress of the Spanish Association of Communication Research. In a feedback with the author he stated: “This paper was written a year before the massacre at Newtown, Ct., but the public debates about gun control are good examples of the efforts to shield risk”.

The issue is completed with a Viewpoint research note from Alexander Dhoest and Sara Bastianesens (University of Antwerp) about how Belgian press reports on Catalonia. They did an interesting content analysis on topics and a discourse approach to the coverage of Catalonia in a country, Belgium, which is also crossing in-dept political struggles involving identity issues.

Finally, this issue is enriched with a set of eight book review in which several authors offer their commentary on new titles on media theory, race representation, journalism, political communication and transnational fictions. Among the authors: Joaquim M. Puyal, Guillermo Orozco and Maria Immacolata Vassalo or Manuel Palacio.

All in all, I see with satisfaction the issue which will be the first stone of a volume that we will complete with a special issue on food and communication, which is already in reviewing.

A ‘discursive vacuum’ on the independence

August 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Next September, Arantxa Capdevila and I will be presenting a paper in the X Conference of the Asociación de Ciencia Política y de la Administración in Murcia. We did research on the treatment of “the independence” as a topic in four important newspapers during the elections in Catalonia. We compared the results between 2006 and 2010. The results suggest that the independence is growing as a ‘media topic’ in the newspapers. In 2010, we could consider that it was a ‘electoral topic’. Despite this, we found that the treatment of the issue was very superficial. The discourses on the newspapers regarding the independence as a political project are poor and scarcely analytical. Few arguments (backing or not the independence) are given and when a presence, it is mostly used to ‘adjectivating’ or to “attacking” or “giving support” to some political leaders. In this sense, we have defined this situation as a “discursive vacuum” on the independence, a meaning space inhabited or poorly filled with any sense.

Get full text here: Capdevila_Castello_AECPA2011

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