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Communication in crisis time: An analysis of the European Parliament’s online news coverage about the financial crisis


  • Caroline Bauwens

Summary, in English

This dissertation is a combination of a quantitative and a qualitative content analysis around the discourse constructed on the website of the European Parliament, specifically concerning the recent economic crisis. I analyzed thirty articles published on the site by the Web Communications Unit in the Directorate General of the Communication of the
European Parliament in Brussels. Based on a theoretical framework, I discuss the Europeanization of the public sphere, the growing part that new media have played on the political stage and the circumstances in which the financial turmoil has hatched.
The focus is placed on the way that the European Parliament constructs its
message to the citizens that visit the webpage. I will uncover the construction of the articles through key concepts and the online discourse presented by the European Parliament by way of three methods. I combine quantitative content analysis, the qualitative framing method and NET-method.
The outcome of the study, finally, is twofold. Firstly, the European Parliament uses its online news channel to send transparent messages about the measures that are being taken to counter the financial challenges the EU is facing today. The category that is most represented in the article is the role of the European institutions and the tone of the writing can be described as straightforward and cautiously optimistic. Secondly, with regard to the construction of a European public sphere, this study votes in favor of a continued open dialogue between the political elite and the citizens, creating a communicative space in which problems can be addressed, thereby increasing the legitimacy of the EU.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Social Sciences


  • European Parliament
  • Content analysis
  • Online media
  • News
  • European public sphere
  • NET-method


  • Peter Dahlgren (Professor)