Convergence and Divergence : a study of British economic and business journalism

Merrill, Gary James. 2015. Convergence and Divergence : a study of British economic and business journalism. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Through the analysis of over 1,600 articles from four British news organisations, this thesis reveals distinct patterns in the political content of economic and business news in the first decade of the 21st century.

In each of the three case studies – economic globalisation; private finance and public services; and Tesco - the Telegraph newspapers, The Times and the Sunday Times were overtly supportive of laissez faire, the primacy of profit, and reduced government regulation. The Guardian-Observer gave some exposure and credence to ideas from the left but tended to exclude the more radical thinking. Although the BBC is often accused of having a left-wing/anti-business bias, this thesis demonstrates that its reporting has far more in common with the right-wing newspapers than the generally progressive Guardian-Observer.

Two further empirical chapters, based on interviews with 26 journalists and editors, explain these findings. The first describes the convergence of the mainstream news media around a shared set of deeply-entrenched assumptions and working practices that are hardwired to reproduce elite interpretations of the economic environment. The second explanatory chapter explores the concept of house tradition, and considers the extent of political divergence of the four mainstream news providers, and contrasts their positions with those of four ‘alternative’ news organisations, the New Statesman, the New Internationalist, Corporate Watch and Private Eye.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Economic journalism, business journalism, financial journalism, news, sociology of journalism, BBC, political journalism, comparative study

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


30 September 2015

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

20 Nov 2015 14:44

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 15:23


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