Shoot Them or Send Them Back: Analysis of Public Opinion and Sentiment in News Comments on Syrian Refugees

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International Communication Association Annual Conference

Conference Location

San Diego, CA


The purpose of this study to examine public opinion on the emerging refugee crisis in Europe. A total of 1,433 comments published on the news websites of The Washington Post (n=302), The Daily Mail (n=512), The Globe and Mail (n=619) were analyzed to examine if there was a shift in public sentiment towards refugees as a results of the two events and also to investigate differences in sentiments across readers of the three websites. This study employed content analysis and computer mediated sentiment analysis to examine user comment on newspaper websites. Results show a 15% increase in negative sentiment between the first and second events in The Washington Post and The Daily Mail. However, there is a 15% decrease in the negative sentiment in the Globe and Mai after the second event. This study also found that the differences in the sentiment between the news websites were statistically significant.


Journalism and Mass Communications

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