FuJo and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) have published a qualitative research report into the attitudes of first-generation Nigerian and Polish migrants to Irish news media. The research was carried out by FuJo’s Dr Dawn Wheatley and School of Communication’s PhD student Leysi Rubio Arevich and examines the findings of the 2022 Digital News Report (Ireland) from a different perspective.
The ‘Attitudes towards news media in Ireland: Perspectives from Nigerian and Polish migrants’ project sought to broaden knowledge around news and media consumption in Ireland by understanding some of the patterns of consumption through the lens of Polish and Nigerian migrants who moved to Ireland over the past two decades. Both nationality groups have a substantial presence in Ireland. According to the 2016 Census, Polish people make up the largest non-Irish population in Ireland, while Nigerian people make up the largest population of African origin living in Ireland.
The three key aims of the project were to: 1) Document the attitudes and consumption habits of migrant populations towards Irish news media; 2) Understand some of the barriers and potential solutions to news consumption among these populations in Ireland; 3) Capture these insights through the participants’ own words and individual experiences.
The research was carried out in November / December 2022 via one-to-one interviews and focus groups. It includes contributions from 12 Polish and 12 Nigerian participants, comprising 12 men and 12 women aged between 25 – 49 years of age. The participants were recruited through professional networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as through community leaders and journalists from migrant groups and organisations in Ireland. Leaflets were also distributed in Polish shops and posted on the Polish website www.ogloszenia.gazeta.ie. The project drew on many of the themes covered in the Digital News Report Ireland, such as audience consumption habits, trust in the news, brand loyalty, polarisation, news avoidance, and demographic representations in the news. It also looked at the ongoing relationship with Polish / Nigerian media; accessibility of Irish news, including the licence fee, language, and content; representation of Nigerian and Polish people in the news; racism in Irish media, and geographic emphasis of Irish news.
Commenting, lead author, Dr Dawn Wheatley, said: “Understanding consumption habits and attitudes towards news is a crucial dimension of the contemporary media landscape, in which the audience exists in a high-choice environment with a plethora of content sources fighting for their attention. This study did not set out to be representative and garner large numbers of participants: instead, the goal was to speak to small groups, who could offer meaningful insights into their experiences and attitudes, shared in their own words. Participants were recruited through networking and snowball-sampling; thus, their responses are not applicable to larger Polish and Nigerian communities in Ireland. While there is no single migrant experience, it is valuable to capture the views of those whose voices and insights are often overlooked.
“Broadly, the participants felt that news in Ireland was informative and useful in helping them to understand what was going on. However, negative stereotyping of migrants was one of the issues raised, which marginalises perspective audiences. The findings of this research should be taken in this context: the report presents a series of contributions based on participants’ own observations, which may help to lay the foundation for future research and action from news organisations seeking to appeal to, and engage with, those who are new to the country.”
Chief Executive of the BAI, Celene Craig, added: “The BAI plays a central role in promoting increased representation of the diversity of Irish society in the broadcast media. We also have a responsibility to facilitate a mix of voices and opinions, which enhances democratic debate. This research provides valuable insights that could inform future work in this regard and creates awareness and understanding amongst news providers and users about how news and current affairs are consumed differently by migrant populations. We hope that it will also prove useful to the work of the new media regulator, Coimisiún na Meán, when it takes office later this month.”
The report is available to download here.