This is a Chapter of the Study “How does the media on both sides of the Mediterranean report on migration?” carried out and prepared by the Ethical Journalism Network and commissioned in the framework of EUROMED Migration IV – a project, financed by the European Union and implemented by ICMPD. © European Union, 2017.
The Temperature is Down, but Media Coverage still Fails to Tell the full Migration Story
The infinite emergency of international migration continues. Read through the eyes of Italian media, the year 2016 confirmed the centrality of the migration phenomenon, but the tone of the information flow of all major media outlets (press, television news and social media) was often more useful to the political debate than to supporting understanding of what is really happening: often the ideological point of view leaves out, or even contradicts, the clarity of the numbers.
This tendency continues and confirms the one already detected in 2015, when international migration became central for Italian media after the tragedies that occurred in the Mediterranean Sea. The pressure of migration in Europe hasn’t been uniform over time and this has determined different responses in terms of public opinion. By the time that the crisis had eased it was clear that the public had grown tired of the media coverage during 2015 and 2016.
As public editor at La Stampa this past year the message I got from readers on the migrants drama was that they couldn’t stand being bombarded by tragic stories any longer.
“After all those stories about failed landings with sunken ships and drowned babies, I don’t want to hear it anymore, the pain is unbearable, but what worries me even more is seeing the effect on my kids: they are becoming jaded because they feel sickened by emotional reporting that doesn’t explain what is happening and just wants to impress and shock,” wrote one reader last summer. “Please tell us stories also about those migrants who make it”