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Report finds Labour is almost invisible in EU Referendum coverage

The Labour Party is being practically ignored in media coverage of the EU Referendum according to a Loughborough University report released today.

Labour voices are present in less than 4% of TV coverage and just 8% of print coverage of the Referendum, and no labour politicians are amongst the top 10 most frequently reported individuals.

The party’s media presence in this latest period of analysis (19 May to 1 June 2016) is even lower than the first phase of the study (6-18 May), with the already low number of television appearances dropping by over 40%.

The report found that topics foregrounded in Labour’s ‘distinct agenda’ such as the environment, employment and women’s rights, and social security, are either absent or marginal. In contrast, issues prominent in the Leave campaign such as immigration have seen an increase in media coverage.

Report co-author Professor James Stanyer said:

“Labour is almost invisible in the UK media coverage of the EU Referendum. This is in part due to the dominance of the Conservative ‘blue on blue’ conflict, but will also be down to Jeremy Corbyn’s reluctance to share a platform with the Tories.

“With many believing it will be the Labour voters who ultimately decide the vote on the 23rd, their party’s lack of visibility across press and television will be a major concern.”

Results in the report are derived from detailed content analysis of weekday news coverage of the EU Referendum and is compiled by experts in Loughborough University’s Centre for Research in Communication and Culture (CRCC).

The report also revealed:

  • David Cameron has overtaken Boris Johnson as most frequently featured, and the Tories continue to control the media agenda (accounting for 30% of TV and 45% of press mentions).
  • Campaign conduct and process, the economy, and immigration dominate media coverage to date.
  • This period saw a modest increase of coverage afforded to women (12 to 18%) with Nicola Sturgeon and Priti Patel becoming the first women to break into the top 10 list.

Read the full report

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 16/85

About the Report

The following news outlets (weekdays only) were analysed for the report:

Television: Channel 4 News (7pm), Channel 5 News Tonight (6.30pm), BBC1 News at 10, ITV1 News at 10, Sky News 8-8.30pm.

Press: The Guardian, Times, Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Mirror, Sun, Star and the I.

Visit the CRCC website for more information.

Loughborough University is equipped with a live in-house broadcast unit via the Globelynx network. To arrange an interview with one of our experts please contact the press office on 01509 223491. Bookings can be made online via www.globelynx.com

About Loughborough University

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named the best in the country for its student experience in the 2016 THE Student Experience Survey. Loughborough was ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2017 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2017 and was also named University of the Year in the In the What Uni Student Choice Awards 2015.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In September 2015 the University opened an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.

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