News Media Coverage of Refugees in 2016: A GDELT Case Study


  • Emina Boudemagh Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH Zurich)
  • Izabela Moise Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH Zurich)


For many citizens, the main source of information about world events is the news media. Undeniably, media coverage of topics influences the perceived importance of these topics. Recent media discourse has given extensive attention to the topic of refugees and migration. In this context, we conduct a study on news media coverage of refugees for the time period of January 1st 2016 to December 31st 2016. We rely on the Global Database of Events, Language, and Tone (GDELT) project that monitors and analyses news articles around the world. In a first phase, we explore the global media conversation on refugees along two important dimensions: article quantity and sentiment. We identify and characterize events that generated an extensive media coverage and also extreme sentiment in the news reports. In a second phase, we refine the analysis by focusing on the news media coverage related to refugees in Europe. GDELT features allow us to identify the key countries and time evolution of the media coverage. Lastly, we determine the main actors linked to refugees in the news and study their interaction through a network analysis.




How to Cite

Boudemagh, E., & Moise, I. (2017). News Media Coverage of Refugees in 2016: A GDELT Case Study. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 11(1), 743-750. Retrieved from