During 2015 and 2016, Europe dealt with the largest migratory crisis since WWII due to the escalation of the Syrian civil war and ongoing conflict and violence. When an issue as significant as the Syrian refugee crisis occurs, it is crucial to carefully examine the news framing of the issue due to its strong power to influence public discourse. This influence can originate from many different aspects of framing, but one of the most influential is word choice. The word choices used to refer to groups of people can change the feelings of identification or “otherness” among readers. This paper explores the influence of these choices on the framing of Syrian refugees within Spanish news media in November and December of 2015. The use of terms such as “refugiados” (refugees), “demandantes de asilo” (asylum-seekers) and “migrantes” (migrants) to refer to Syrian refugees within Spanish newspapers creates a sense of division between refugees and the host society, while the use of terms such as “personas” (people) and the use of names creates a sense of identification between readers and refugees. The classification of refugees in these different manners can have a humanizing or otherizing effect, which contributes to the greater news framing of the issue. These word choices can have a strong influence on public opinion and how these refugees are treated both when considering whether to accept them into Spain and once they have arrived.
Hoyer, Ariana, "Spanish News Framing of the Syrian Refugee Crisis" (2016). WWU Honors Program Senior Projects. 26.