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From credit crunch to austerity Europe

How news narratives on the financial crisis are continually shifting and what this means for democracy.

Project details

News narratives on the financial crisis are continually shifting. In the UK, emphasis seems to have moved from a “credit crunch” to a “banking crisis” to a “sovereign debt crisis” to a “Eurozone crisis”, all since 2007. Indeed, one of the defining features of the news is its “flow”. The thousands individual news items on particular topics being produced at every moment interact to form overarching dominant news narratives, which are in a constant state of flux.

However, while news “flow” is referred to in media and journalism studies as a matter of course, the nature of flow itself and how it affects the news media’s ability to perform its democratic function are little understood. Using a combination of digital methods and discourse analysis to investigate UK online news coverage, this project aims to contribute to the understanding of news flow by discovering how news narratives about the financial crisis have developed over the past six years.

In doing so, it will focus on three core aspects of the crisis coverage: how the range of voices offered has changed over time; how the past of the crisis has been reconfigured over time; and how the transnationality of the crisis has been addressed over time. It will thereby bring together key debates taking place within journalism and media studies on plurality, cultural memory and transnationality.

Ultimately, the study seeks to contribute to the wider, essential question of the role of news within democratic societies, asking how the dynamic, flow aspect of news affects its ability to inform citizens. It will address the key European Commission concerns of media plurality, transnationality and literacy, as well as its interest in online news platforms, with regards to a crisis which is dramatically affecting Europe now and most likely for years to come.

The project team

Grant holder

Justin Lewis

Professor Justin Lewis

Professor of Communication


This research was made possible through the support of the following organisations: