Europe at 6pm: Images of the EU on New Zealand Television News
Thesis DisciplineEuropean Studies
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Contributing to the broader debate on the nature and identity of the European Union (EU), this thesis is a study of the EU from the outside looking in: an examination of how this novel process of integration among the nations of Europe is viewed by its partners around the world, in particular in New Zealand through its television news media. While there are many studies which examine how the EU is understood and represented within its borders, there is an absence of parallel studies which consider the image of the EU from an external perspective. Recognising that the television news media plays a particularly important role in influencing the knowledge and perceptions of people on foreign matters, the thesis presents an analysis of the entire EU television news coverage in New Zealand's two prime-time television news bulletins throughout 2004. The primary research question that the thesis investigates is, how is the EU framed in the television news media of New Zealand, an external 'Other' of the EU? The study was multi-methodological in nature and analysed each of the relevant news items using content analysis, as well as undertaking deeper analysis of the metaphorical categorisations and the visual images of the EU, to detect the entire range of EU representations and the overall image of the EU these created for New Zealand television news audiences. These findings were then compared against corresponding research from Australia, South Korea and Thailand, as well as to the perceptions of New Zealand's leading newsmakers, in order to account for the most important trends in EU image formation in New Zealand. In particular it was found that the EU was often entirely absent from the New Zealand television news space, and when it was visible, was often presented in a way which ignored the extensive domestic relevance of the Union for New Zealand and its immediate region.