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8lqm5uyGOne of the obvious ways to study the media is through Content Analysis and a classic – if now somewhat dated – application of the method was the Glasgow Media Group’s pioneering research, evidenced through a series of books – Bad News (1976), More Bad News (1980), Really Bad News (1982) – that examined “the ‘common sense’ acceptance of the neutrality of television news” and concluded: “Contrary to the claims, conventions and culture of television journalism, the news is not a neutral product. For television news is a cultural artefact; it is a sequence of socially manufactured messages, which carry many of the culturally dominant assumptions of our society”.

While the GMG’s analysis encompassed a range of quantitative and qualitative data – “From the accents of the newscasters to the vocabulary of camera angles; from who gets on and what questions they are asked, via selection of news stories to presentation of bulletins” – the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies’ less-ambitious, “BBC Breadth of Opinion Review” (2013) offers a more-contemporary analysis of possible bias within the BBC (the research was carried out by as part of a BBC Trust review of the organisation).

While not as far-reaching in its methodological scope and ambition the research does nevertheless offer an interesting contribution to the analysis of media bias and, for those who want to dip a little deeper into methodological questions, the dominant ideology / hegemonic control dichotomy is an ever-present theme running through this type of research. For what it’s worth, my money’s on the latter, but don’t let that influence your opinion…

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