Alan Carroll Media

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February 2017

CA1 – Circuit of Culture

As part of my Media Discourse and Analysis module, I need to watch and discuss a piece of news and analyse it’s preferred meaning. To do this, I will use the ‘circuit of culture’ model of media analysis. This consists of five aspects; Representation, Identity, Production, Consumption and Regulation.

The piece I have chosen to analyse is BBC Newsnight’s report detailing the impact of tightening border controls across Europe in response to the Refugee Crisis.

The footage is narrated throughout The piece opens with footage of a crowd of refugees chanting in protest outside of a metal fence. The footage is shot from the other side of the fence giving the impression that these people are outsiders looking to get in.

Next, there is a clip featuring an interview with Andrew Bett, Director of the Refugee Study Centre in Oxford, where he describes how certain routes have been closed off to refugees.

Then there is a graphic comparing the numbers of migrants in 2015 (1,000,000) to the first ten months of 2016 (341,000). The map then focuses on the Greek/Balkan route which the narrator calls the ‘main route’ and states the number that has crossed this route since the route closed (200,000). The narrator then points out the other routes used using drawn on arrows on the map.

Next, we see crowded ships full of refugees, highlighting the sheer number of people this affects. We then cut to a video conference interview with Leonard Doyle of the International Organization for Migration, who describes the legal issues that the refugees can encounter, which include being exploited for cheap labour.

The last section of the report features criticisms of Europe’s response to the crisis, with 6,243 having been successfully relocated within Europe, falling far short of the promised 160.000 figure.

The report was produced by the BBC which is Britain’s state-funded broadcaster.


The language used throughout the report serves to dissociate the viewer from the human impact of the crisis. What is immediately apparent is the BBCs use of the word ‘migrant’ to describe these people. The BBC has come under criticism for the use of this term instead of the term ‘refugee’, which is the preferred term in use by the UNHCR.

The footage used of ‘migrants’ seen behind police patrolled wire fences, creates a barrier between them and the viewer. The narrator makes a reference to the migrant issue being ‘successfully contained’. This phrasing brings to mind the kind of language used to describe the effects of a natural disaster, such as a wildfire, rather than when dealing with actual people.

The segment featuring the map and the routes used by refugees brings to mind a post-game analysis of a football match. I feel that this somehow trivialises the issue and perhaps the use of smoother graphics would be more appropriate.

The final segment featuring the criticisms of Europe’s response to the crisis could be seen as a pro-Brexit piece, painting Europe as a poorly-run organisation who doesn’t keep its promises.

The video was uploaded to BBC Newsnight’s official Youtube channel on October 25th, 2016. Newsnight is the BBCs top current affairs programme and is broadcast every weeknight, typically at 10.30p.m.

The BBC would be under the regulation of the national broadcasting standards agency, Ofcom and their own governing body, the BBC Trust.

BBC – Governance framework – BBC Trust. (2017). [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017].

BBC regulation. (2017). [online] Ofcom. Available at: [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017].

Du Gay, P., Hall, S., Janes, L., Madsen, A.K., Mackay, H. and Negus, K., 2013. Doing cultural studies: The story of the Sony Walkman. Sage.

Refugees, U. (2017). UNHCR viewpoint: ‘Refugee’ or ‘migrant’ – Which is right?. [online] UNHCR. Available at: [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017].

Request BBC use the correct term Refugee Crisis instead of Migrant Crisis. (2017). [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017].

What’s happening with the migrant crisis? – BBC Newsnight. (2017). [online] YouTube. Available at: [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017].


What is discourse?

If I were to excuse myself from our conversation and turn to blow my nose into a handkerchief, odds are you probably won’t think twice about it. However, according to some sources, this would be considered the height of rudeness in Japan.

The reasons behind this difference in acceptance is down to the cultural discourse. Asia has a history of disease that can be spread through saliva and mucus (SARS, Bird flu, etc.) so keeping a handkerchief full of snot in your pocket is a very bad idea. In these countries, they always use disposable tissues. They also tend to wear face masks to prevent the spread of disease.

Within the context of media, discourse refers to any of the factors which effect how a product is created and developed. How a media outlet reports on an event depends on many different factors. If a report on a natural disaster mentions some political issue that the affected country was facing, we have to ask why that was mentioned. Is it relevant to the disaster what was going on in the country’s government, perhaps through some state funding certain precautions could have been taken. Or, is the outlet painting the country as a victim of an oppressive regime in need of outside help.


Japan Explained FASAQ. (2008). Why is it rude to blow your nose in public in Japan?. [online] Available at: (2017). What do the Japanese do when they have a runny nose? – Quora. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Mar. 2017].

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