Journal Article

Representations of British armed forces veterans in the press: A quantitative analysis of newspaper articles


Previous research has shown that British public perception of veterans can be negative and erroneous. Surveys, for example, indicate that veterans are characterized as skilled and valorous individuals but also as suffering from ill-health, unemployment and homelessness. To investigate how these beliefs may form, the present study examines the public dimension of knowledge by analyzing depictions of veterans in the media. A total of 335 newspaper articles that represent UK veterans were downloaded from Google News and UKPressonline. After the articles were classified with a content analysis, chi-squared tests were conducted to understand how the representation of veterans may be related to the political affiliations of news agencies and by newspaper format. The results suggest that UK veterans are predominantly represented in both heroic and victimizing contexts. While political affiliation did not affect the representation of veterans significantly, newspaper format did, with broadsheet newspapers emphasizing victimized contexts and local and international newspapers focusing on heroic contexts. Tabloids are a symbolic middle ground between broadsheet, international and local formats. In conclusion, broadsheet newspapers may express sociocultural scrutiny towards the ways in which veterans are treated while local and international newspapers may focus on stereotypical representations of heroic British military actions that veterans may symbolize. Implications and conclusions are discussed.

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Phillips, Rita
Connelly, Vincent
Burgess, Mark

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work


Year of publication: 2021
Date of RADAR deposit: 2020-06-08

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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