ABSTRACT

The study of the role of the Press in the reproduction of racism cannot be limited to an analysis of the meanings and forms of its news reports about ethnic affairs. To understand this role, we need to know how news reports affect the readers. Therefore, this chapter briefly summarizes the results of a research project that examines one aspect of the notorious problem of media ‘influence’. We carried out in-depth interviews with some 150 people in the Netherlands and asked them about a number of ‘ethnic’ issues they had learned about from their newspapers. Detailed discourse analysis of these interviews not only gives us some insight into the ethnic attitudes and ideologies of different kinds of readers, but also into the problem of how such social cognitions are shaped by the forms and contents of the Press stories about these issues.