Getting the message
The Glasgow University Media Group began its research with the analysis of television news content. We were interested in how differences in the use of language and definitions might relate to conflict and divisions within the society as a whole. We sought to show how individual meanings might relate to competing ways of understanding the nature and movement of the social world. In our case study method, we saw the first task as to lay out these ‘ways of understanding’ and to relate them to the specific conflicts through which they were generated. In Bad News (1976) and More Bad News (1980), we showed how divisions between right and left on the political spectrum corresponded to quite different explanations of the reasons for economic crisis. The language and definitions used were one level of the battleground for competing groups. It seemed clear that these different ways of explaining the world emerged from social divisions such as those between classes and between subgroups within these. Our interest was in examining how the key themes of social ideologies were represented in news accounts.