The Mediation of Poverty: The News, New Media and Politics

Redden, Joanna. 2010. The Mediation of Poverty: The News, New Media and Politics. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis considers how the mediation of poverty in Canada and the United Kingdom influences responses to the issue of poverty. The thesis focuses in particular on the issue dynamics concerning children as constructions of a “deserving poor” and immigrants as constructions of an “undeserving poor”.

A frame analysis of mainstream news content in both countries demonstrates the extent to which individualizing and rationalizing frames dominate coverage, and that the publication of the news online is not leading to an expansion of discourses, as hoped. A frame analysis of alternative news coverage and coverage from the 1960s and 70s demonstrates significant absences of social justice frames and rights-based discourse in contemporary coverage. I suggest that mainstream news coverage narrows and limits the way poverty is talked about in a way that reinforces the dominance of neoliberalism and market-based approaches to the issue. Interviews with journalists, politicians, researchers and activists collectively indicate that getting media coverage is essential to gaining political attention in both countries. These interviews also reveal the power dynamics influencing the relationships between these actors and the way the issue of poverty is approached. I argue that while new media tools create new opportunities to share information, these tools are also creating new pressures by speeding up the working practices in mediated political centres in a way that forecloses potentials to challenge dominant news coverage and approaches to poverty. However, this cross-national comparison also reveals context-specific factors influencing poverty politics in each country.

I conclude that this analysis and comparison of poverty issue dynamics reveals shortcomings in the democratic processes in both countries. Changing poverty coverage and approaches to the issue will require changing specific media and political practices.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)


news, poverty, new media, neoliberalism, uk, canada

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


19 July 2010

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

06 Feb 2012 18:03

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 11:14


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