Television framing of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Stirling
Department Name: Communications, Media and Culture

Abstract

On 18 September 2014, the Scottish electorate will be called to answer a fundamental question about the future of the UK and Scotland: the decision of whether Scotland will become an independent state or remain a part of the UK will have an impact not only on the relationship between the British nations but also on other parts of Europe with similar concerns. Yet, as is the case with any contested issue, the definition of what this referendum is about will be negotiated between political and social groups, debated in the media and deliberated by voters before making their decision. Is the referendum a competition between two opponents fighting for the vote? Is it a matter of identity (shared or distinctive)? Is it a matter of economic survival and growth?

This research will examine how the 2014 Scottish independence referendum campaign is framed in the news coverage of the two main television channels catering for audiences in Central Scotland, BBC Scotland and STV. The importance of television as a trusted source of news on political issues is constantly reaffirmed by surveys (Ofcom, 2013, Eurobarometer, 2012) and therefore what television says about a major political event is significant.

The study will focus on Scottish news and current affairs coverage referring to the referendum in the final month of the campaign, create an original set of frames emerging from the coverage and measure which of them were more prominent. The project will also use structured interviews with political editors, heads of news and current affairs, political and civil society actors, to discuss how these representations were shaped in the interaction between journalists, media organisations and their sources.

The project will contribute to public analysis of the news coverage of the referendum in the aftermath of the event and create opportunities for stakeholders to discuss how broadcasting contributes to the democratic process, through the way it reports on campaigns. Key stakeholder groups, such as the Electoral Commission, the Hansard Society, the Voice of the Listener and Viewer and the BBC Audience Council will be invited to participate in these. At an international level, it will inform debate and policy making on referenda not only on autonomy issues, but also on other national matters (for instance the 2017 EU membership vote in the UK). European election observers, leading researchers specializing in the study of elections and referenda and the European Broadcasting Union will be kept up-to-date with findings and they will also be invited to participate in dissemination events.

Planned Impact

The research will benefit stakeholders in Scotland, the UK and beyond. The PI has already approached a number of key stakeholders and initial responses have indicated that the project will be a relevant, interesting and timely undertaking.

Stakeholders include organisations promoting awareness of the democratic process, and particularly elections and referenda, such as the Hansard Society and the Electoral Commission; organisations that protect the interests of broadcast audiences, such as the BBC Audience Council Scotland, VLV (Voice of the Listener and the Viewer) Scotland, and the European Alliance of Listeners' and Viewers' Associations (EURALVA); the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the world's foremost alliance of public service media organizations, defending the interests of public service media; the two broadcasting organisations investigated and the rest of the Scottish media industry; as well as Scottish political parties involved in the campaign.

For the broadcasters themselves, the research will provide an independent assessment of their performance that will contribute to their thinking around editorial policy in future political campaigns. For political actors and for UK electoral bodies, the project will deliver insights into how media interpretations of referenda are formed and affected by political communication - with another referendum planned for 2017 (on the UK's membership of the EU) these insights will be of particular relevance for their strategies. Organisations that are concerned with the interests of broadcasting audiences and with public service broadcasting in the UK and in Europe will benefit from an assessment of how the specific broadcasters served their democratic purpose in this case and from a broader understanding of the role of broadcasting in referenda, which will inform their positions on this crucial matter. More generally the project's social impact will be to provide all relevant stakeholders with input that will allow them to ensure that broadcasting remains in the service of democratic ideals.

To the best of my knowledge, this research is one of very few UK studies undertaking a systematic analysis of how broadcast media help shape our understanding of key political and constitutional referenda. This research will thus constitute an important development in knowledge and will interact fully with relevant national and international programmes and organisations identified in this application, including projects on the Scottish referendum already funded by the ESRC. My previous experience demonstrates that journalists, media professionals and policy makers use research findings as a means of independent evaluation of their efforts and a contribution to their ongoing development of ideas.
 
Description The research discovered that the 2014 Scottish referendum was represented in television coverage in two main ways: as a strategic competition or game between the two official Yes and No campaigns (game frame); and as a decision about different policy areas, such as economic policy, public services, welfare, international policy, defence, etc (policy frame). In the final month of the campaign on BBC Scotland and STV, the game frame was the most prominent way of representing the referendum (present in 70% and 69% of the coverage respectively) followed by the policy frame (in 68% and 62% of each channel's coverage). These frames have also been discussed in the context of referendums and elections in other countries. A set of new, original frames were additionally identified in the coverage of the Scottish referendum: the referendum was also represented as being about national identity; democratic self-determination; a divorce; social justice; constitutional change within the UK; an achievement for democracy; a source of national division. However, none of these different interpretations appeared in more than 23% of either channel's coverage. Taken all together this later group of frames that had to do with abstract values appeared in 45% (BBC Scotland) and 37% (STV) of the final month's coverage, far behind the game and the pragmatic policy frames.

The research also identified a series of factors contributing to this framing of the referendum through in-depth interviews with the BBC Scotland and STV news teams, political communicators working for the two sides of the referendum argument, and neutral civil society organisations. First it found that the policy frame appeared so prominently in the coverage because it was promoted by both Yes and No political actors. The heavy day-to-day reliance of broadcasters on the campaigns for their referendum stories, as well as the wide-spread view among journalists that it was not for broadcasters to determine what the referendum was about but for their sources, constitute two factors which are connected with the prominence of the policy frame. Second, the research found that the prominence of the game frame is connected with broadcasters' understanding of impartiality as giving opposing sides equal opportunity to respond to what their opponents said, which practically translates into countering each claim from one side with a claim from the other. It also found that some broadcasters perceive game-framed coverage such as televised debates and clashes between politicians as contributing to public debate and attracting audiences.

Based on these insights and on insights from studies on other referendums, this research developed a frame-building schema to account for the framing of referendum campaigns. The schema combines a range of factors, which contribute to broadcasters reproducing political campaigns' frames and also 'reframing' them by presenting their opposing proposals through a game or competition narrative (see Dekavalla, 2018, Framing Referendum Campaigns in the News). The schema can be useful in understanding the framing of referendums in different Western contexts.
Exploitation Route Non-academic uses: Broadcasters, regulators and policy makers engaged with the findings and used them in their decision-making. A more detailed discussion of the impact achieved can be found under the narrative impact report of this project.
The research revealed the ways in which professional ideals, organisational values and routines, as well as the outside pressures within which television operates when reporting on a contested political issue, such as referendum, play an important role in the framing of this issue, and in whose frames prevail. Making stakeholders aware of these processes is important in contributing to more effective strategies in dealing with contested political reporting. As discussed in the narrative impact report, the PI enabled this to happen by sharing her findings with stakeholders across a range of platforms.

Academic uses: Findings can be taken forward by other researchers by comparatively analysing new case studies of other referendums, using the insights developed in this study regarding the aspects affecting media frame building. To enable this, the PI has presented her findings at international academic conferences and in highly ranked publication outlets.
The research was presented at a range of international academic conferences in politics and communication studies, thus contributing to interdisciplinary debate among academic audiences on the framing of referendums: MeCCSA 2017; The Future of Journalism 2017; IPSA 2016; ECREA 2016; PSA 2016; Media, Politics and Democracy: A Challenging Topic for Social Sciences Luiss University 2015; The 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum in the Media Stirling University 2015; Media Framing and Metaphor Use in Conflict Universitat Rovira i Virgili 2015; and at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) research seminar.
The interdisciplinary contribution of the research is also reflected in the publication of its findings in journalism, politics and visual communication academic outlets (3 journal articles and a book monograph, all completed and published as part of the award).
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Government, Democracy and Justice

 
Description OVERVIEW This research on the framing of the 2014 Scottish referendum campaign on television fed into editorial decision-making at BBC Scotland during their coverage of the 2016 EU referendum. Additionally, through a series of engagement activities, the research informed debate among Scottish broadcasters and television regulators, and contributed to consultations which shaped news and current affairs broadcasting and regulation in the last few years (see 'details of the impact' section below). DETAILS OF THE RESEARCH FINDINGS The research explored how Scottish television coverage of the 2014 referendum on BBC Scotland and STV (ITV licensee in central and north Scotland) addressed the question 'what was the referendum about?' and why some definitions or 'frames' became more prominent than others in the final month of the campaign. It explored how journalistic frames were shaped in the interaction between broadcast journalists and their sources both from the political campaigns and from impartial civil society organisations. Through a range of interviews with these actors and an extensive analysis of 64 hours of coverage, it found that: - the referendum was framed primarily as a strategic competition between two sides and as a decision about policy - frames like national identity, self-determination or change in the constitutional relationship with the UK were considerably less present - the Yes and No campaigns had a lot of power in determining media frames and were the primary sources for broadcasters in the final month - the Yes and No campaigns both promoted policy frames in their communication - broadcasters saw their own role as representing and explaining the definitions of the referendum provided by the two sides - broadcasters' understanding of fairness as giving equal space to the two sides to voice their views encouraged a juxtaposition of their perspectives and a framing of the campaign as a competition - broadcasters thought that this competition, or 'game' of the campaign attracted viewers' interest. These findings are important beyond the context of the specific referendum. They tell us that factors in how broadcasting works (such as how journalists perceive their own role in the coverage of a contested campaign, how they understand impartiality and fairness, how they understand what makes fascinating coverage, and how reliant they are on official campaigns as their everyday sources) play a role in promoting official campaigns' frames in the coverage of a highly contested political event, and in the prominence of the game frame. The findings have implications for subsequent referendums, and indeed the UK's 2016 EU referendum, which followed only two years later. IMPACT GOALS AT THE START OF THE PROJECT The impact strategy of this project was to communicate findings to broadcasters and regulators as early as possible in the life of the project, to help inform decision-making in the 2016 referendum and beyond, especially as this time was also a critical period of change for public service broadcasting with the regulation of the BBC moving to Ofcom in 2017, and a new dedicated BBC channel for Scotland planned and ultimately established in 2019. I will explain below how this strategy was implemented. DETAILS OF THE IMPACT 1. IMPACT ON POLICY: The research findings fed into consultations on the BBC Charter review in 2016 and the BBC's revision of editorial guidelines for the 2016 EU referendum through a range of events, the submission of evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, to Ofcom and to BBC Scotland. These are detailed below. 1a: Informing the BBC Charter review (2016) Key industry figures (Ken MacQuarrie, Controller of BBC Scotland; Ian Small, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, BBC Scotland; Bobby Hain, Director of Channels at STV; Bill Matthews, BBC Trustee for Scotland; Allan Jack, BBC Trust Chief Adviser in Scotland; Alan Stewart, Regulatory Affairs Manager at Ofcom Scotland; Liz Leonard and Philip Schlesinger, Ofcom Scotland Advisory Committee members; Lynn Whitaker, Director of VLV Scotland; Blair Jenkins, Chief Executive of Yes Scotland, John McLellan, Director of the Scottish Newspapers Society, among others) attended events organised by the PI to discuss findings of the research. These were: - an industry seminar and debate in Glasgow (Lighthouse) on 17 June 2015. - a conference at Stirling University on 18 September 2015. - a talk at the 'Scotland, PSB and the Broadcasting Landscape' event organised by the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts) at Glasgow University on 13 January 2016. As a result of these events, research findings fed into consultation submissions, particularly by the BBC Audience Council. More specifically, the debates at the above events and the research report the PI provided to delegates fed into BBC Audience Council Scotland's submission to the BBC Charter Review consultation (available at http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/acs/acscharterresponse.pdf) , where the research was directly referenced. The Council's submission specifically states that "Research on television 'framing' of the independence referendum (ESRC) showed possible disconnection between the 'frames' chosen by broadcasters and those of the audience" (p.6). BBC Trustee for Scotland, Bill Matthews, also invited the PI to present and discuss her findings with the BBC Audience Council Scotland, at a meeting which too place on 8 April 2016, and where members of the Council engaged with the research. 1b: Revising BBC editorial guidelines for the 2016 EU referendum (2016) The same body's submission to the consultation for the review of BBC editorial guidelines for the 2016 EU referendum (available at http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/our_work/peb/2016/eu_guidelines/org_responses.pdf), echoes findings from the research and, although it does not directly reference it, its proposal that "coverage should go beyond 'impartial and independent reporting of the campaign' to reflect as wide a range of views as possible [] the BBC news agenda should draw from sources beyond the official in/out campaigns" (p.3) reflects key findings from the research suggesting that the Scottish referendum coverage was heavily reliant on the two campaigns. This point was taken on in the revised BBC guidelines for 2016 (available at http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/our_work/peb/2016/eu_guidelines/ref_guidelines.pdf), which state that: "there may be circumstances in which other voices, beyond the formal representatives, are relevant to the arguments: these too should be weighed in terms of the broad balance. The designated Campaign Groups - whilst offering spokespeople to programme-makers and other content producers - cannot dictate who should or who should not appear on BBC output" (p.5). Although, as stated above, these documents do not directly cite the research, the BBC Trust's Chief Adviser for Scotland acknowledged the influence the research had in their content, writing to the PI that "because of the events you held, the ideas raised in your research did enter into the debate on broadcasting". 1c: Submissions to consultations: House of Commons, Ofcom and BBC Scotland (2016-2017) The PI also gave written evidence to the House of Commons Culture Media and Sport Select Committee consultation on the BBC and Broadcasting in Scotland (19 July 2016), which was part of their broader BBC Charter Review Inquiry. In this she recommended that more extended dedicated news provision in Scotland would be sensible, to keep up with developments after the 2014 referendum (available at http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/culture-media-and-sport-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/bbc-charter-review-15-16/publications/). This point was supported by the Committee's final report (available under the same link). A few months after the Select Committee's consultation, and partly in reponse to its recommendations, the BBC announced plans to establish a dedicated channel for Scotland. BBC Scotland's Head of Public Affairs invited the PI personally to submit a response to a public interest consultation organised by BBC Scotland on these plans. In her submission (25 July 2017) the PI welcomed the initiative to create more comprehensive daily news coverage from a Scottish perspective. The PI's submission fed into the proposals that the BBC submitted to Ofcom for the proposed new channel (http://www.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/insidethebbc/howwework/accountability/consultations/scotland_tv). Ultimately the BBC's proposal was approved and the new BBC SC channel started broadcasting in February 2019. The PI's contribution thus played a role in supporting this development. Ofcom also invited the PI to a meeting with a range of stakeholders (London, 29 June 2017) to discuss its subsequent consultation on how Ofcom will regulate the BBC's delivery of its mission and public purposes. Following this, the PI additionally submitted a written response to the relevant public consultation (https://www.ofcom.org.uk/consultations-and-statements/category-1/bbc-performance?utm_source=updates&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=bbc-operating-licence). The PI's submission fed into Ofcom's measures to assess the BBC's performance, set out in its new operating licence for the BBC. Particularly the annexes to the operating licence (https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/107070/bbc-performance-statement-annexes.pdf) reference on pp. 63 and 64 recommendations made by the PI regarding the need to regularly gather qualitative evidence for the assessment of areas such as representation and impartiality, which are difficult to measure through quantitative metrics alone, as evidenced in this research. 2. IMPACT ON EDITORIAL DECISION-MAKING: Following the engagement events discussed above, the PI was invited to one-to-one meetings with BBC Scotland's Head of Editorial Standards and Compliance, as well as the Head of Public Policy and Public Affairs, on 9 March 2016, at the BBC Scotland headquarters in Glasgow. During these meetings the broadcasters committed to feed the findings into their decision-making process for the coverage of the forthcoming EU referendum. They suggested that the research provided "a true reflection" of their coverage and that they found it very insightful. The Head of Public Policy confirmed in a letter to the PI (3 June 2016) that the reseach "will certainly help to inform decision-making in respect of how we approach all such future events". The PI recorded and analysed BBC Scotland's Reporting Scotland daily bulletin in the final month of the 2016 EU referendum campaign and found much less focus on the strategic game of the campaign, compared to the final month of Scottish referendum. This may suggest that some of the issues raised by the research were indeed taken into consideration. Ofcom Scotland also commented in writing to the PI (16 March 2016) that the study and the debate it generated at the events she organised were of great interest to them and that they shared the research with Ofcom colleagues in London. 3. INFORMING DEBATE AMONG THE PUBLIC: Apart from the broadcasters and regulators, the research also generated debate among members of the broader public. The PI was invited to present the research at the 2015 Festival of Politics, on 16 August 2015, at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. For this she put together a panel with well known political correspondents Sarah Smith (BBC) and Bernard Ponsonby (STV). The panel was the best-attended event in the Festival after the Parliament's Chamber events, with 125 members of the public attending, and generated considerable debate in the room and on Twitter (#indyref,#FoP2015). This was an interactive opportunity for members of the public and the broadcasters to engage with the findings of the study and exchange views about it. An exhibition that visualized research findings (Stirling University, 7/9-16/11/2015) was seen by over 5000 visitors (including visitors to the University's open days, organised tours of the University's art collections, as well as staff and students). The exhibition comprised of stills from the news coverage of the campaign which exemplified the different media frames identified in the research, and encouraged visitors to think more deeply about the different ways the media defined what the Scottish referendum was about. CONCLUSION The project was successful in engaging with relevant stakeholders, in informing debate about the coverage of referendums, and in contributing to developments in Scottish broadcasting during the lifetime and the aftermath of the award. All activities included in the project's pathways to impact were implemented successfully. One of the aims of the Future Research Leaders scheme was to effect a step change in the award holder's research and level of engagement with stakeholders - this was achieved in this project, with the PI having established herself as a research expert in her area among policy makers, broadcasters and regulators (as reflected in multiple invitations by these actors to contribute to debates and consultations, as discussed above), and having also contributed to editorial decision making and policy making processes. In terms of capacity-building, this project developed the PI's skills in public engagement, broadened her contacts with the industry, as well as her understanding of the dynamics of policy-making in the broadcasting sector.
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description Citation in BBC Audience Council Scotland submission to the BBC Charter Review Consultation
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
URL http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/acs/acscharterresponse.pdf
 
Description Consultation meeting with the BBC Audience Council Scotland
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact I presented my research findings to members of the Council, following an invitation by the BBC Trustee for Scotland to a consultation meeting with the BBC Audience Council Scotland. My research was used by the Council in its submission to the BBC Charter Review consultation (see separate entry: Citation in Policy Documents). It also influenced their submission to the consultation for the review of BBC editorial guidelines on referendum coverage, which echoes findings from the research: although it does not directly reference my research, this document's proposal that "coverage should go beyond 'impartial and independent reporting of the campaign' to reflect as wide a range of views as possible [] the BBC news agenda should draw from sources beyond the official in/out campaigns" reflects key findings from the research, which suggest that the broadcasters were heavily reliant on the official campaigns during the Scottish referendum. The Council's point was taken on board in the revised BBC editorial guidelines. In subsequent correspondence to the PI, the BBC Trust's Chief Adviser in Scotland confirmed that "the ideas raised in your research did enter into the debate on broadcasting".
URL http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/our_work/peb/2016/eu_guidelines/org_responses.p...
 
Description Evidence to the House of Commons, Culture Media and Sport Committee inquiry on the BBC Charter Review (consultation on the BBC and broadcasting in Scotland).
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
Impact In my submission (available under the link below), I suggested that more extended dedicated news provision in Scotland would be sensible, to keep up with developments after the 2014 referendum. This point was taken on board in the Committee's final report (available under the same link). A few months after the Select Committee's consultation, and partly in response to its recommendations, the BBC announced plans for a dedicated channel for Scotland. The new channel (BBC SC) launched in February 2019 and includes 250 hours of news content in peak viewing times.
URL http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/culture-media-and-sport-c...
 
Description Submitted response to BBC consultation that fed into establishing the new BBC SC TV channel
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
Impact My submission fed into the BBC's public interest consultation for a proposed new Scottish TV channel, with dedicated news and current affairs provision for Scottish audiences. The BBC submitted its proposal, incorporating the outcome of the consultation I contributed to (http://www.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/insidethebbc/howwework/accountability/consultations/scotland_tv), to Ofcom in November 2017. In my submission, based on the findings of my research, I supported the need for a dedicated Scottish bulletin covering the daily news agenda from a Scottish perspective, like I had done in my previous submission to the Culture, Media and Sports Committee inquiry on the BBC Charter Review in 2016 (see separate entry in the Influence on Policy section). Following this BBC consultation, Ofcom decided in June 2018 that the new channel should proceed and include at least 250 hours of news content during peak viewing time. The channel started broadcasting in February 2019 (https://www.ofcom.org.uk/consultations-and-statements/category-2/variation-operating-licence-bbc-public-services)
URL http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/insidethebbc/howwework/accountability/consultations/Dr_Marina...
 
Description Sumbitted response to Ofcom consultation on assessing BBC performance in its operating licence
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
Impact My submission fed into Ofcom's measures to assess the BBC's performance, set out in its operating licence for the BBC (https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0023/107069/bbc-performance-statement.pdf). The annexes to the above document (https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/107070/bbc-performance-statement-annexes.pdf) specify how individual consultation submissions were incorporated and the recommendations made in my submission are referenced on pp. 63 and 64 of the latter document. My recommendations related to the need to regularly gather qualitative evidence for the assessment of areas such as representation, portrayal and impartiality, which are difficult to measure through quantitative metrics alone, as evidenced in my research.
URL https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/105101/Dekavalla,-Dr-M.pdf
 
Description Use of findings to inform coverage of 2016 EU referendum at BBC Scotland
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact BBC Scotland used the findings of the research in their decision making while covering the 2016 EU referendum. In one-to-one meetings I had with the Head of Editorial Standards and the Head of Public Policy at BBC Scotland in March 2016 (ahead of the EU referendum), they committed to use the research in future decision making. In a subsequent letter, BBC Scotland's Head of Policy and Corporate Affairs stated that the reseach "will certainly help to inform decision-making in respect of how we approach all such future events", and that he would "make sure that the document [report prepared for broadcasters] is made available widely among staff". Indeed the findings appear to have been taken on board in the coverage of the 2016 EU referendum. Whereas in BBC Scotland's coverage of the 2014 Scottish referendum the referendum was primarily represented as a strategic game between the political campaigns (in 70% of the final month's coverage), in the coverage of the 2016 EU referendum on BBC Reporting Scotland the game frame was only present in 31% of news items (in the final month). The organisation appears to have taken on board the findings of the research from the 2014 referendum and focused instead on the impact of the EU referendum decision on different policy areas in Scotland (the policy frame was present in 86.2% of the final months' coverage on BBC Reporting Scotland). All supporting datasets are available on ReShare.
 
Description Amsterdam University 
Organisation University of Amsterdam
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I carried out a research visit at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) at the University of Amsterdam in May 2015. During this visit I was invited to present research findings from the Television Framing of the Scottish Referendum project and received feedback from scholars specialising in media framing research. I had one-to-one consultation meetings to discuss my approach with Prof Claes de Vreese, Dr Andreas Schuck, Dr Sophie Lecheler and Guus Bartholome, who all work in this research area.
Collaborator Contribution Prof Claes de Vreese gave the plenary speech at the project conference I organised at Stirling University in September 2015 (see engagement activities). He also offered me advice on publication drafts.
Impact Invited plenary presentation at 'The 2014 Scottish independence referendum in the media' project conference, Stirling September 2015. Invited presentation at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) research seminar, Amsterdam May 2015.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Luiss University 
Organisation Guido Carli Free International University for Social Studies
Department Department of Political Sciences
Country Italy 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I carried out a research visit at the Department of Political Sciences at Luiss University, Rome, in May 2015. The Department is Italy's leading academic institute of its kind. I was invited to present findings from the project at the International Conference 'Media Politics and Democracy. A Challenging Topic for Social Sciences.' I received feedback on my work from scholars working in media and politics and I had one-to-one meetings with Prof. Michele Sorice and Dr Emiliana de Blasio, who also research in this area.
Collaborator Contribution Following the visit, Prof Sorice and I introduced and led a panel at the International Political Studies Association (IPSA) 2016 conference, focusing on media coverage of referendums and elections internationally. The panel included academics from different European and non-European countries who explored a range of case studies of elections and referendum campaigns in the media. The panel instigated debate at the conference in relation to how the media cover referendum campaigns in different national contexts. Dr Emiliana de Blasio also participated at the '2014 Scottish independence referendum in the media' project conference I organised at Stirling in September 2015 (see engagement activities).
Impact Invited presentation at the International Conference 'Media Politics and Democracy. A Challenging Topic for Social Sciences.' Luiss University, May 2015 Invited presentation at the '2014 Scottish independence referendum in the media' project conference, Stirling University, September 2015 Panel on 'Election and Referendum Campaigns in the Media' at IPSA 24th World Congress of Political Science, July 2016
Start Year 2015
 
Description Rovira i Virgili University 
Organisation Rovira i Virgili University
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I carried out a research visit at the Department of Communication Studies at Rovira i Virgilli University (Tarragona, Spain) in April 2015, during which I was invited to present findings from the project at the international seminar 'Media framing and metaphor use in conflict: politics, science, sport'. The department specialises in research on the media framing of the Catalan independence issue in Spain. This initial visit, funded by the ESRC award, started an ongoing scholarly exchange with Rovira i Virgilli, including: - Two further invited talks I gave in 2016 and 2018: 1) "Metaphors in mediated political discourse" delivered at the conference 'The role of metaphor in the definition and social perception of conflict: Institutions, media and citizens', supported by the Spanish Department of Economic Affairs and Competitiveness. Rovira i Virgili University, December 2016. 2) "Framing referendum campaigns in the news" delivered at the seminar 'Discourses, actors and citizens in the communicative construction of conflicts". Rovira i Virgili University, October 2018. - An invited talk by Dr Enric Castello and Dr Marta Montagut, researchers in media framing from Rovira i Virgilli, at the final conference I organised for the Television framing of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum project in Stirling, in September 2015. - Dr Montagut successfully applied for funding from the Spanish government to carry out a research visit at Stirling University in summer 2016 (see below). - I collaborated with Dr Montagut during her visit on further research which was published in Dekavalla, M. and Montagut, M. (2018) Constructing issues in the media through metaphoric frame networks. Discourse, Context & Media. This paper is not about the Scottish referendum, but about the construction of the Catalan independence process in Catalan and Scottish media. - I collaborated with Dr Enric Castello on submitting a funding bid for a Norface programme call in 2019 (Democratic governance in a turbulent age call).
Collaborator Contribution Dr Marta Montagut, Lecturer at Rovira i Virgilli University secured funding from the Spanish government-funded programme, "José Castillejo", to carry out a research visit in Stirling (May-August 2016) during which we collaborated on and published a peer-reviewed journal article about the construction of the Catalan independence process in Catalan and Scottish media (see above). Dr Montagut and Dr Castello participated in the project conference I organised at Stirling University in September 2015 (see engagement activities), and gave a paper on the framing of the 2014 Scottish referendum in Catalan media.
Impact - Invited presentation at 'The 2014 Scottish independence referendum in the media' project conference, Stirling September 2015. - Invited presentation at 'Media framing and metaphor use in conflict: politics, science, sport' international seminar, Rovira i Virgili University, April 2015. - Invited presentation at 'The role of metaphor in the definition and social perception of conflict: Institutions, media and citizens' conference, Rovira i Virgili University, December 2016 - Invited presentation at 'Discourses, actors and citizens in the communicative construction of conflicts" seminar. Rovira i Virgili University, October 2018. - Dekavalla, M. and Montagut, M. (2018) Constructing issues in the media through metaphoric frame networks. Discourse, Context & Media. (This article does not use any material from the Television framing of the Scottish referendum project, and is thus not listed under publications. It is further research on a new topic, taking further the academic network established in 2015 through the grant).
Start Year 2015
 
Description Blog contribution - Centre on Constitutional Change 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I published a piece about the framing of the Scottish independence referendum on the Centre for Constitutional Change blog on the anniversary of the referendum, followed by exchange of comments.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.centreonconstitutionalchange.ac.uk/blog/should-we-start-talking-about-constitution%20
 
Description Broadcasting industry seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact I organised a specialised seminar to present and debate findings from the Television Framing of the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum project with members of the broadcasting industry. The seminar took place on 17 June 2015 in Glasgow.

It was attended by 20 senior broadcasters, television regulators, representatives of viewers' associations and civil society including, among others: Ian Small, Head of Public Policy and Corporate Affairs at BBC Scotland; Bobby Hain, Director of Channels at STV; Daniel Maxwell, Executive Editor of BBC's Question Time; Allan Jack, Chief Adviser at BBC Trust Scotland; Alan Stewart, Regulatory Affairs Manager at Ofcom Scotland; Liz Leonard and Philip Schlesinger, members of Ofcom's Advisory Committee for Scotland; Blair Jenkins, Chief Executive of Yes Scotland; John McLellan, Director of the Scottish Newspapers Society, Lynn Whitaker, VLV (Voice of the Listener and Viewer) Trustee for Scotland.

A presentation of findings from the research was followed by a one-hour roundtable discussion, during which delegates engaged with the issues arising from the findings. Delegates discussed the significance of the findings for democratic representation and the role of broadcasting in explaining what a referendum is about. A report from the event was sent to delegates as well as to those who weren't able to attend, including the Electoral Commission and the European Broadcasting Union.

The seminar led to further liaising with delegates including their participation in the project conference in September 2015. It was also followed up with one-to-one meetings with broadcasters in 2016 to discuss how findings may impact on their coverage of future referenda. The findings discussed at this seminar were referenced in the BBC Audience Council's (Scotland) submission to the BBC Charter review consultation (see influence on policy section).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://scottishreferendumcoverage.org.uk/events/seminar/
 
Description Exhibition of visuals 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I organised an exhibition of stills from the television coverage of the referendum at the University of Stirling. Ten images from different days in the coverage of the final month of the campaign illustrated the frames identified by the Television Framing of the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum research project.

The exhibition was curated by the University of Stirling Art Curators and was located in the entrance of Pathfoot building, which serves both as a teaching building and a regular exhibition space. It run from 7 September to 16 November 2015, coinciding with the first anniversary of the referendum, and it was free for the public.

It was seen by over 5000 people during the period it ran. Special guided tours of the Pathfoot exhibitions were organised for art groups from ARTLink Central, ELIR, the Chinese Consul General, and Forth Valley College, while the exhibition coincided with the University's two Open Days (19 September and 31 October 2015) which brought thousands of school leavers and their parents to the space of the exhibition. As a result of the exhibition, I was approached to participate in the Centre for Scottish Studies research group which brings together academics working on Scottish affairs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://scottishreferendumcoverage.org.uk/events/exhibition/
 
Description Project Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact I organised a one-day conference at Stirling University on the first anniversary of the Scottish referendum (18 September 2015), entitled 'The 2014 Scottish independence referendum in the media'. Its aim was to explore how the referendum was covered in the media in Scotland and beyond. The programme included nine speakers from seven universities in Scotland, England, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain, researching different aspects of the media and referenda.

It was attended by academics from Scotland, England and beyond, senior broadcasters and regulators (53 delegates in total). Delegates reported that they found the conference very informative and that they developed new insights as a result. Particularly media industry delegates reported that it influenced their thinking around practice.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://scottishreferendumcoverage.org.uk/events/conference/
 
Description Project website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact I oversaw the creation and wrote all texts for the project website, launched in March 2015 and detailing the scope and methods of the research project. The website was updated with information and reports on all engagement activities and functioned as a kwy information platform for all audiences connected to the research.

The website generated queries for further participation, through the contact page.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://scottishreferendumcoverage.org.uk
 
Description Scottish Parliament Festival of Politics 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I introduced and organised a panel exploring the television framing of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum in the Scottish Parliament's 2015 Festival of Politics. The debate took place on 16 August 2015, at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

The panel was made up of the PI, Dr Marina Dekavalla; Bernard Ponsonby, Political Editor at STV; Sarah Smith, Presenter of BBC's Scotland 2015; Mandy Rhodes, Editor of Holyrood Magazine; and Professor Neil Blain.

125 people attended the debate which, according to the Festival organisers, was the biggest attendance they had outside the Chamber events. A ten-minute presentation of findings from the research was followed by a one-hour discussion with the audience and panel members. The debate sparked several requests for further information from audience members after the event. In addition to the debate at the venue, there were several mentions of the panel on Twitter. During the session the broadcasters on the panel reflected critically on their practice and how future coverage may develop in light of the research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.festivalofpolitics.org.uk/events/defining-the-2014-scottish-referendum-on-television/
 
Description Talk at public service broadcasting event (RSA) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact I presented findings from the research project at the 'Scotland, Public Service Broadcasting and the Broadcasting Landscape', event organised by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, on 13 January 2016.

75 delegates attended the event, including senior broadcasters, regulators, policy makers and academics, including Ken MacQuarrie, Director of BBC Scotland, Bobby Hain, Director of Channels at STV, and Bill Matthews, BBC Trustee for Scotland. The talk was followed by questions and debate and I was approached after the event for further information on the project. I was subsequently invited by Bill Matthews to a consultation meeting with the BBC Audience Council Scotland.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.thersa.org/events/fellowship-events/2016/1/rsa-scotland-scotland-public-service-broadcas...