The Banking Crisis: Audience Studies

  • Mike Berry


This chapter draws on the findings of 16 focus group discussions conducted in Glasgow, Surrey and the Midlands over the summer of 2009. The focus groups were drawn from ‘naturally occurring’ groups of people and discussed participants’ media consumption and understanding of the banking crisis. The research revealed that interest in the banking crisis was high and that in trying to understand events participants drew on knowledge of previous crises, personal experience, books and conversations with friends and family. However it was clear the mass media were the key information source for most people. This could be seen in the range of actors that that participants saw as responsible for the crisis, what they thought caused the crisis, their views on the bailouts and knowledge of reforms to the sector—all of which closely corresponded to what appeared in media coverage. The findings therefore suggest that the media had a powerful ability to influence the parameters of audience understanding and attitudes towards the crisis.


  1. Ashcroft, M. (2012). Which Party Does The Sun Support? Do Sun Readers Know? Available at: Accessed 9 July 2018.
  2. Bachrach, P., & Baratz, M. (1962). Two Faces of Power. American Political Science Review, 56(4), 947–952.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ball-Rokeach, S., & DeFleur, M. L. (1976). A Dependency Model of Mass-Media Effects. Communication Research, 3(1), 3–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bennett, W. L., & Iyengar, S. (2008). A New Era of Minimal Effects? The Changing Foundations of Political Communication. Journal of Communication, 58(4), 707–731.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bennett, W. L., & Iyengar, S. (2010). The Shifting Foundations of Political Communication: Responding to a Defence of the Media Effects Paradigm. Journal of Communication, 60(1), 35–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berry, M. (2013). The Today Programme and the Banking Crisis. Journalism, 14(2), 253–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berry, M. (2015). The UK Press and the Deficit Debate. Sociology, 50(3), 542–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Berry, M. (2016). No Alternative to Austerity: How BBC Broadcast News Reported the Deficit Debate. Media, Culture and Society, 38(6), 844–863.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brandenburg, H., & Van Egmond, M. (2012). Pressed into Party Support: Media Influence on Partisan Attitudes During the 2005 UK General Election Campaign. British Journal of Political Science, 42(2), 441–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Clarke, A. (2012). Political Parties in the UK. London: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Curtice, J., & Park, A. (2010). A Tale of Two Crises: Banks, MPs’ Expenses and Public Opinion. In A. Park, J. Curtice, E. Clery, & C. Bryson (Eds.), British Social Attitudes: The 27th Report – Exploring Labour’s Legacy (pp. 131–154). London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. De Vreese, C. H., & Boomgarden, H. G. (2006). Media Message Flow and Interpersonal Communication: The Conditional Nature of Effects on Public Opinion. Communication Research, 33(1), 19–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Deacon, D., & Monk, W. (2001). New Managerialism’ in the News: Media Coverage of Quangos in Britain. Journal of Public Affairs, 1(2), 153–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Duval, J. (2005). Economic Journalism in France. In R. Benson & E. Neveu (Eds.), Bourdieu and the Journalistic Field (pp. 135–156). Cambridge, MA: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  15. Feldman, L., Maibach, E. W., Roser-Renouf, C., & Leiserowitz, A. (2012). Climate on Cable: The Nature and Impact of Global Warming Coverage on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. International Journal of Press/Politics, 17(1), 3–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gavin, N. T. (2018). Media Definitely Matter: Brexit, Immigration, Climate Change and Beyond. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 20(4), 827–845.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Happer, C., Philo, G., & Froggatt, A. (2012). Climate Change and Energy Security: Assessing the Impact of Information and Its Delivery on Attitudes and Behaviour. UKERC Project Final Report. Available from: Accessed 9 July 2018.
  18. Iyengar, S. (1991). Is Anyone Responsible? How Television Frames Political Issues. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kellner P. (2015). General Election 2015: How Britain Really Voted. Available at:
  20. Kitzinger, J. (1994). The Methodology of Focus Groups: The Importance of Interaction Between Research Participants. Sociology of Health and Illness, 16(1), 103–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Klapper, J. T. (1968). Mass Communication: Effects. In D. L. Sills (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences 3 (pp. 81–90). New York: Macmillan/The Free Press.Google Scholar
  22. Krueger, R. A., & Casey, M. A. (2000). Focus Groups: A Practical Guide for Applied Research. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  23. Ladd, J. M., & Lenz, G. S. (2009). Exploiting a Rare Communication Shift to Document the Persuasive Power of the News Media. American Journal of Political Science, 53(2), 394–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lewis, J. M. W. (2008). Thinking by Numbers: Cultural Analysis and the Use of Data. In T. Bennett & J. Frow (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Cultural Analysis (pp. 654–673). London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lukes, S. (1974). Power: A Radical View. London: Macmillan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Manning, P. (1999). Categories of Knowledge and Information Flows: Reasons for the Decline of the British Labour and Industrial Correspondents’ Group. Media, Culture and Society, 21, 313–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mattinson, D. (2010). Talking to a Brick Wall. London: Biteback.Google Scholar
  28. McCombs, M. E., & Shaw, D. L. (1972). The Agenda-Setting Function of Mass Media. Public Opinion Quarterly, 36(2), 176–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McQuail, D. (1977). The Influence and Effects of Mass Media. In J. Curran et al. (Eds.), Mass Communication and Society. London: Edward Arnold.Google Scholar
  30. Miller, J. M., & Krosnick, J. A. (2000). News Media Impact on the Ingredients of Presidential Evaluations: Politically Knowledgeable Citizens are Guided by a Trusted Source. American Journal of Political Science, 44(2), 301–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Morgan, D. L. (1997). Focus Groups as Qualitative Research. London: SAGE.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Newton, K. (2006). May the Weak Force Be with you: The Power of the Mass Media in Modern Politics. European Journal of Political Research, 45(2), 209–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Philo, G. (1990). Seeing and Believing: The Influence of Television. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Philo, G. (1995). Political Advertising and Public Belief. Media, Culture and Society, 15, 407–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Philo, G. (1996). Media and Mental Distress. London: Pearson/Longman.Google Scholar
  36. Philo, G., & Berry, M. (2004). Bad News from Israel. London: Pluto.Google Scholar
  37. Philo, G., & Berry, M. (2011). More Bad News from Israel. London: Pluto.Google Scholar
  38. Philo, G., & Happer, C. (2013). Communicating Climate Change and Energy Security: New Methods in Understanding Audiences. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rafter, K. (2014). Voices in the Crisis: The Role of Media Elites in Interpreting Ireland’s Banking Collapse. European Journal of Communication, 29(5), 598–607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Schifferes, S. (2012). Trust-Meltdown for Business Journalism. British Journalism Review, 2(1), 3–7.Google Scholar
  41. Stanley, L. (2014). We’re Reaping What We Sowed’: Everyday Crisis Narratives and Acquiescence to the Age of Austerity. New Political Economy, 19(6), 895–917.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Stanley, L. (2016). Legitimacy Gaps, Taxpayer Conflict, and the Politics of Austerity in the UK. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 18(2), 389–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wahl-Jorgensen, K., Sambrook, R., Berry, M., Moore, K., Bennett, L., Cable, J., Garcia-Blanco, I., Kidd, J., Dencik, L., & Hintz, A. (2013). BBC Breadth of Opinion Review: Content Analysis. Available at: Accessed 10 July 2018.
  44. Yougov. (2008). Survey 9–10 October. Available at: Accessed 11 July 2018.
  45. YouGov. (2015). YouGov/Post Crash Economics Society Survey. Available at: Accessed 10 July 2018.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mike Berry
    • 1
  1. 1.Cardiff UniversityCardiffUK

Personalised recommendations