• The role of 'Letters to the Editor' in shaping mass media representations of Brexit

      Dangerfield, Martin (St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, 2018-12-21)
      Brexit has commanded an enormous amount of attention in the UK media, both before and since the In-Out referendum on June 23 2016. Though various studies have already considered the overall role of newspapers in affecting attitudes towards the EU in the UK, this paper will focus on an area in which there has so far been no research: the role of ‘Letters to the Editor’ in newspaper contributions to the Brexit debate and their parts in equipping voters to make an informed choice. It looks at six UK national newspapers, all with varied stances on the EU and with different tones and styles of getting messages across to readers. All letters published in each paper during the month leading up to the referendum will be scrutinised with a view to throwing some light on the following initial questions. To what extent did readers’ letters tend to support and reinforce each newspaper’s stance on ‘Leave’ or ‘Remain’? To what extent did readers’ letters contribute to a real debate in each newspaper, i.e. disputing the content of articles or editorials published by the newspapers or disputing other readers’ letters? How, if at all, did the role of readers’ letters vary between the six newspapers? Finally, were there any differences of note in the style and format of the different newspapers’ letters pages?