Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Karen Shafer


The ongoing war in Syria and the subsequent refugee crisis has brought the need for refugee resettlement to the forefront of policy debates. Canada and the United States display stark differences in the outcome of their refugee policies. Canada continues to welcome Syrian refugees, whereas the United States has become less willing to engage in resettlement. The purpose of this study was to use Entman's conceptualization of framing theory to compare media framing of refugees in Canada and the United States to deliver insight into the different policy outcomes. Data were acquired through a content analysis of 850 newspaper articles in each country that were measured with 2 separate Lexicoder instruments to represent the salience and selection of the media coverage about refugees. These data were then analyzed primarily through compare-means tests to determine if there were differences in media reporting between the 2 nations. Findings indicated that newspapers in the United States portrayed refugees more negatively than newspapers in Canada. The tone and frame of the articles differered significantly between the 2 countries (p < .001). These results suggested that newspaper articles in the United States portrayed a less favorable attitude toward refugees compared to Canada. The implications for positive social change include the necessity by intergovernmental, governmental, and nonprofit organizations who are tasked with refugee resettlement in the United States to counter the negative portrayals of refugees in the media in order to enhance the integration process of refugees in society and motivate additional resettllement opportunities.