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Media Analysis of the G7 and the 2015 Schloss Elmau Summit

G7 Research Group
May 27, 2016
[pdf]

Acknowledgements
Findings
Methodology
Country Reports
Canada
• France
Germany
Italy
Japan
United Kingdom
United States


Acknowledgements

G7 Research Group Media Studies Unit:
Joshua Oliver
Alec Wilson
Giorgia Ponti
Fariha Ahmed
Serena Ceco
Yukari Kosaka
Alexander Marshall
Jorge Quesada
Anton Rizor

With special thanks to Michael Humeniuk (chair, Summit Studies), Fabio Ponti, Sarah Neidoba, and Alex McKeen

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Findings

The research of the Media Studies Unit within the G7 Research Group studying international media coverage of the 2015 Schloss Elmau summit supports three primary findings. Detailed analysis of the coverage by each country's media is provided in the country reports section.

1. Security, economy, and climate change dominate coverage

Across all countries, security, the world economy, and climate change were the three most widely covered topics. In terms of media coverage, these three topics by far overshadowed other items on the summit agenda, including global health, development, other environmental issues, and the status of women. Current events in global affairs at the time of the summit appear to have placed these issues at the forefront of media coverage. In addition, and naturally, each country's media showed a preference for the issues most relevant to that country, producing notable trends.

In general, the media focused narrowly on how the G7 might act in relation to ongoing problems in world affairs, including the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Middle East security issues, the Greek economic crisis, and climate change. It does not appear that the G7 succeeded in placing its chosen issues in the media spotlight. Rather, coverage of the G7 focused on issues that were already receiving wide media coverage. Those issues on the G7 agenda that were not already on the world media stage received extensive coverage infrequently.

1.1 Security: Russia-Ukraine and Middle East security top the agenda

The most covered non-G7 nation was Russia, primarily in the context of ongoing security issues. The Russia-Ukraine crisis was frequently a topic for coverage, as was discussion about Russia's relations to the G7 since its suspension from the group. In Japan, then-recent issues surrounding the Kuril Islands were also covered, although these were not covered elsewhere. The next most prominent security issue was the Middle East, where Iraq and Syria were frequently mentioned in discussion of the Islamic State. Security was the most covered issue in Japan and in the USA.

1.2 Economy: European G7 countries focus on Greece

The Greek economic crisis and challenges to the European Union economy dominated the coverage of global economic issues. This was especially true in European G7 countries, which were naturally the most attentive to this topic. The economy was the most covered topic in Germany and Italy, and also prominent in France and the UK.

1.3 Climate Change: Anticipation of COP21 raises profile of climate change

Coverage of climate change reflected the spill over effect of another major international summit, the COP21 climate negotiations. In anticipation of this gathering, and perhaps because of a major emphasis on this topic from the host country, climate change was a prominent topic in all countries. Climate change was the most covered topic in France, the host country of the COP21 talks. It was also the top topic in Canada, where a distinctive pattern of coverage emerged. More liberal and left-leaning outlets in Canada featured climate change in the context of criticizing then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper's environment record and perceived position as a black sheep on this topic within the G7. Climate change was also the most covered topic in the UK.

2. G7 protests receive relatively little media attention, except in the host country

Despite significant protests in several locations surrounding the summit, these demonstrations did not attract much media attention, except in the host country. In no country other than Germany did more the five per cent of articles mention the G7 protestors at all. Typically, protestors featured in only a few individual articles. Among these, the depiction tended to be neutral or critical, although the small sample size limits the importance of this observation.

German media differed significantly from this trend. In the German media, fifty-five per cent of all articles sampled mentioned the G7 protestors. This finding is not unexpected, since protests tend to loom more largely in the country in which they occurred. In addition to the immediate practical impact on the lives of citizens in affected areas, the host country's media can be expected to focus more on logistical and procedural details surrounding the summit. Within the German media, there was a balanced portrayal of the protests. Approximately equal numbers of articles portrayed the protests positively, neutrally, and negatively.

3. Some media coverage highlights challenges to the G7 as an organ of global governance

Another noticeable topic in international coverage of the G7 was discussion of institutional challenges to its position as an organ of global governance. Various outlets suggested that the G7 had declined in prominence in recent years, partly due to the rise of the G20. In other cases, the absence of Russia, China, and India from the meeting was suggested as a major challenge the G7's ability to tackle global issues effectively. This topic was especially prominent in Japanese media, where one article suggested adding Russia, China, and India to the group to create a G10. Other major economies, including Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa, were also mentioned as important players excluded from the G7.

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Methodology

Major newspapers in each G7 member country were selected to provide a snapshot of that country's media landscape. The selection was based on the need to balance publications' influence, circulation, and diversity of ideological associations. Using the Factiva database, analysts collected news articles, editorials, and opinion pieces that featured the G7 from each sampled newspaper. This set of articles was then subjected to qualitative and quantitative analysis. Analysts coded the articles using surveys to track trends in the coverage, including the frequency and portrayal of topics and countries. Analysts also studied their sets of articles and the corresponding survey results in the light of the global political context to produce qualitative analyses, which are detailed in report on each country.

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Country Reports

Canada

Newspaper profiles

The three Canadian newspapers selected for analysis were the Toronto Star, the National Post, and the Globe and Mail. The Toronto Star is consistently credited as being Canada's largest metropolitan daily newspaper. The Globe and Mail is circulated nationally, as is the National Post. In an average week, including both print and digital copies, the Globe and Mail circulates 1,732,715 copies, the Toronto Star circulates 1,664,000 copies, and the National Post circulates 815,685 copies. Each publication reports on both domestic and international affairs, ranging in topics from business to politics to humanitarian crises. However, the Toronto Star also takes particular interest in events occurring within the Greater Toronto Area.

The Globe and Mail stands in the center-left of the political spectrum. The National Post stands center-right, while the Toronto Star is relatively left leaning.

Summit coverage

Each publication was relatively neutral in their reporting of G7 affairs in 2015. The key topics addressed in all three were: Harper's commitment to maternal and child health, Canada's stance on Russia, and Canadian prominence within the group. Each publication appeared to hold a favorable opinion of the G7. The coverage reflected a desire that Canada should be a prominent voice within the organization, and each publication took issue with perceived gaps in Harper's leadership. In this respect, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star appeared more willing to critique Stephen Harper's agenda regarding the organization.

Forty-six per cent of articles surveyed were published by the Globe and Mail, while 32.56 per cent were published by the National Post, and 20.93 per cent were published by the Toronto Star. The majority of articles (62.79 per cent) were classified as news, while 23.26 per cent were opinion pieces, and 13.95 per cent were editorials. Sixty per cent of articles took a neutral stance when discussing the G7, while an equal number of articles (16.89 per cent) took positive and negative stances. Seven per cent of articles showed no preference.

There were significant trends regarding each publication's coverage of Canadian ambitions within the institution. The Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail, which sit to the left and center-left of the ideological spectrum, respectively, were decidedly more critical of Canada's compliance, or lack thereof, with G7 initiatives regarding climate change, and Stephen Harper's leadership both in the G7 and at home. This is indicative of their political alignment. In contrast, the National Post, which sits on the center-right of the ideological spectrum, was decidedly more positive regarding both Stephen Harper's leadership and Canada's domestic policies and international position.

Only two articles mentioned protestors, with one portraying them positively and the other portraying them neutrally. While the latter simply noted protestors' presence, the former highlighted the lessened severity of clashes at the 2015 Summit compared with those of the past.

Issue coverage

Angel Merkel emphasized climate change on the summit agenda, setting the stage for the COP21 talks. Climate change was mentioned in 60.47 per cent of surveyed articles with the vast majority of editorial and opinion pieces focusing exclusively on members' commitments on this topic. Largely in agreement that reduction was necessary, many authors were skeptical of the pledge. Many took note of Canada's record regarding similar commitments in the past, as well as then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper's perceived lack of leadership on the matter. Other points of discussion included regional security, which was mentioned in 48.84 per cent of articles, and the world economy, which was mentioned in 55.81 per cent of articles. While 20.93 per cent of articles mentioned energy security, 6.98 per cent mentioned food security. Both terrorism and outreach and expansion were mentioned by 16.28 per cent of articles, while global health and African Development were each mentioned by 9.30 per cent.

Coverage of member and non-member countries

Eighty-one per cent of articles mentioned Canada, while both Germany and the United States of America were mentioned by 46.75 per cent of articles. Italy, Britain, Japan and France were all mentioned in 13.95 per cent of articles. Canada's prominence within each publication is attributable to the fact that all articles surveyed were published in Canada by Canadian newspapers. The decisions reached by global leaders were thus filtered through a national lens and their potential domestic impacts were analyzed. Coverage surrounding Germany and the United States, however, reflects Germany's status as host and the United States unique position in world affairs.

Non-G7 countries mentioned include Russia, Ukraine, Greece, China, India, Australia, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Hungary. Of those listed, Russia was mentioned in 46.51 per cent of articles, Ukraine in 16.27 per cent, Greece in 9.30 per cent, China in 6.98 per cent, and Australia and India in 4.65 per cent of articles. Nigeria, Syria, Hungary and Bangladesh were each mentioned in 2.33 per cent of articles. Coverage of non-G7 states correlated heavily with their involvement in the main issues of the day: climate change, regional security and the world economy. Australia, China, and India remain three key players in the fight against climate change. Ukraine and Russia remain entangled in the tense and ongoing conflict in Crimea, which continues to threaten European security. The inclusion of Greece, on the other hand, reflects the nation's struggling economy and its potential reverberations across both the European and world economy.

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France

Newspaper profiles

Three daily newspapers were selected in order to study the French media's coverage of the G7 summit: Le Figaro, Le Monde, and Libération. Le Figaro is predominantly conservative and right wing, Le Monde is left-wing, and Libération leans towards the centre-left.

These newspapers were chosen because of their influence both domestically and internationally and their high circulation. According to statistics from OJD France (a French nonprofit organization that verifies the circulation of newspapers in France) Le Figaro had a total circulation of 323 720 copies in 2014–2015, while Le Monde circulated 296 951 copies, and Libération circulated 99 076 copies. Le Figaro is the largest national newspaper in France and is followed by Le Monde. It is regarded by many as right-wing and the most conservative newspaper, appealing to well-off, educated readers, particularly those working in the private sector. However, Le Monde is the most influential newspaper in France, especially among academics and intellectuals, as it provides the most detailed coverage of world events and is the regarded as the most accurate representation of French opinion on international issues. It is also more left-leaning and the most-read French-language daily outside of France. Libération is also regarded as left-wing, but it currently leans more towards the centre-left. It is known for its provocative front pages and its appeal to an older generation of intellectuals and well-educated readers. Libération plays an important role on the French left but it has recently encountered many financial difficulties.

Summit coverage

Le Monde published the greatest number of articles (52.50 per cent of total articles collected), while Le Figaro published 32.50 per cent and Libération published 15 per cent in total. Protestors may have received less coverage because they were protesting more against the possible implementation of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership rather than the G7. Moreover, these protestors were advocating against issues which Angela Merkel was also actively combatting, which made many reasons of protests unnecessary.

Issue coverage

All 3 dailies mainly focused on issues that related to non-G7 countries (52. 5 per cent of total articles), which primarily included the tensions between Ukraine and Russia, the Greek economic crisis, and the progression of ISIS in Syria. Climate Change was mentioned in 48.72 per cent of articles in anticipation of the COP21 talks. The world economy was the third most mentioned issue, appearing in 43.59 per cent of articles. Terrorism was the fourth most mentioned issue in 12.82 per cent of articles due to the actions of ISIS in Syria.

All three dailies had their own unique way of treating various issues. Angela Merkel was the most mentioned leader. Her prominence can be attributed to her status as the host of the summit and to the fact that she had sent out an article to various French publications (including these dailies) to detail her objectives. She was most positively portrayed by Le Figaro so as to appeal to its conservative audience, while in contrast Le Monde challenged her actions as a way of gaining more potential voters for the 2017 German elections. The opinion pieces of Le Figaro tended to concentrate on the capabilities of the G7 in solving issues, while Le Monde focused on the political ambitions of leaders and countries. Libération had limited coverage of G7, which may illustrate its indifference towards the summit but also its tendency to discuss unique issues relative to the other newspapers.

Coverage of member and non-member countries

France was the most mentioned G7 country among all three dailies (52.5 per cent of total articles collected) and Germany was second most mentioned (50 per cent of articles), while Japan was third most mentioned (45 per cent of articles). France and Germany were mostly mentioned in context of climate change and the Greek economic crisis as Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande developed a close partnership to resolve these issues. Since France was to also host the COP21 later in December that year, French media greatly focused on countries whose actions would affect that event. This may explain why Japan was the third most mentioned country and Canada the fourth because of their hesitance in adopting climate change reforms. In contrast, the US was the fourth most mentioned country in context of the Greek Crisis and Britain's potential exit from the Eurozone ("Brexit"). All 3 dailies portrayed Barack Obama as being aggressive in preventing any of these events from occurring.

Non-G7 countries were referenced in 84.62 per cent of articles in all 3 dailies, including Ukraine, Greece, and Syria. Russia was mentioned in 30.77 per cent of the articles. Greece was mentioned in 32.5 per cent of articles because of its ongoing debt crisis and its potential exit from the Eurozone. The French media portrayed this issue as being an ongoing source of tension for G7 leaders as it could greatly impact the stability of the world economy if not dealt with soon. Ukraine was mentioned in 27.5 per cent of articles, which can be explained by its ongoing tension with Russia. All 3 newspapers frequently focused on these two countries and portrayed the urgency with which the G7 would have to deal with this issue. Syria was the least mentioned (12.5 per cent of articles) primarily in relation to the advancement of the Islamic State.

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Germany

Newspaper profiles

Three daily newspapers were selected for an analysis of the German media's coverage of the G7 summit: Bild, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and Die Welt. Bild is Germany's and Europe's largest daily newspaper, reaching a circulation of 2.68 million in the final quarter of 2015 and selling 1.99 million copies. Its political orientation is known as right-wing conservative, even though it has made a transition to a more centrist alignment over the recent years. The newspaper gives more focus on domestic affairs rather than international affairs, which mirrors its strong domestic prominence. Bild has a major impact in reporting on sports, culture and entertainment. The Frankfurter is an internationally acclaimed daily newspaper with a circulation of 278,292 in the final quarter of 2013, selling 263,910 copies. Its political orientation is center-right or liberal-conservative, combining conservative policies with liberal stances. It has largest number of foreign correspondents of any European newspaper, so the newspaper offers intensive coverage of international affairs. Because of its reputation for excellent coverage of foreign affairs and its intellectual audience it is also a preferred interview venue for international politicians. The newspaper has been the reason for many socio-political debates in Germany. Finally, the Süddeutsche is a daily newspaper with a circulation of 378,131 in the final quarter of 2015, selling 367,924 copies. Its political orientation matches centre-left or liberal ideologies. It is the second largest circulation in Germany and ranks among the highest in Europe. While the newspaper has a relatively high international reputation, it has a significant domestic presence and is often picked as a newspaper for revealing interviews.

The Bild (and to a lesser extent Süddeutsche Zeitung as a southern newspaper - the conference was held in Bavaria) paid special attention to the impact the summit had on the local communities. An important topic of the coverage was the high cost of the summit and the enormous police presence. In the coverage of topics discussed at the G7 conference, a high emphasis was given to the decision to suspend Russia from the talks. Further important topics were the Greek economic crisis and international terrorism. As Germany has a long tradition of being very concerned about how the rest of the world views Germany a major topic of the coverage was the representation of Germany to the heads of states from the G7 nation, especially US President Barack Obama, who still enjoys great popularity in Germany, was the focus of many reports.

Summit coverage

The majority of the articles related to the G7 summit were found in the Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung. Sixty-four per cent of articles were from Suddeutsche Zeitung, 27.27 per cent were published by the Frankfurter Allgemeine, and the remaining 9.09 per cent were from Die Bild. Thirty-three per cent of all articles portrayed the G7 in a positive or favourable light, while 30.30 per cent of articles depicted the G7 negatively. Thirty-three per cent offered no perspective on the G7.

Fifty-five per cent of the articles covered protests against the G7 summit in Germany. The articles are evenly distributed as 18.18 per cent of all articles portrayed the protesters in a positive light and 18.18 per cent were critical of the protesters. Another 18.18 % did not offer a bias towards one or the other side. Forty-five per cent of the articles did not mention protests. While the G7 group has traditionally been subject to controversial discussion about its effectiveness, the fact that Germany played host to the summit added another layer. On one hand, the cost of the summit and the intrusion into the lives of the Germans due to security were immense and viewed critically. On the other, Germany desired to be a good host to the leaders from around the world.

Issue coverage

Given the difficult situation in Greece at the time and its impact on Europe, it comes as no surprise that the world economy was the most covered issue in the articles, with 45.45 per cent. Regional Security, especially the war in Syria and the annexation of Crimea by Russia, were covered in 33.33 per cent of the articles, while 27.27 per cent of the articles dealt with climate change, 18.18 per cent reported about food security. 15.15 per cent of the articles reported about terrorism and another 15.15 per cent covered global health. Just 9.09 per cent covered each of African Development and expansion and outreach.

As prominent issues in Europe at the time in which Germany was a key player, the Greek bailout and Russia's invasion of Ukraine naturally received most media attention in Germany. The United States also received a lot of attention given its special role and the popularity of President Obama. The other members were not covered as extensively. Greece received a lot of attention, for its role in European economic issues. After being suspended from the G8 due to the annexation of Crimea, it is also unsurprising that Russia received such high coverage.

Coverage of member and non-member countries

As the host country, Germany was naturally at the center of most articles. Eighty-eight per cent of all articles focussed on Germany. The United States received mention in 9.09 per cent of the articles and Japan was mentioned in 3.03 per cent of the articles. All other countries or heads of state were only mentioned as parts of a list of all participants of the summit. Out of the non-G7 countries, Russia was mentioned the most. 30.30 per cent of the articles mentioned Russia, while 6.06 per cent mentioned China. Also mentioned explicitly were India in 6.06 per cent and Mexico in 3.03 per cent of the articles

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Italy

Newspaper profiles

Three prominent newspapers were chosen for the analysis of Italian media coverage of the 2015 G7 Summit: La Repubblica, Corriere della Sera and La Stampa. As of March 2015, Corriere della Sera had a daily circulation of 319,484, La Repubblica reached 275,415 copies, and La Stampa 188,582 copies. The highly demanded Corriere della Sera is the most prominent daily newspaper in the nation. La Stampa and La Repubblica are considered less eminent, particularly the La Stampa, as it covers more regional-related issues.

The three Italian newspapers can also be distinguished by their political orientation. La Stampa and La Repubblica affiliate to the centre-left ideologies. Corriere della Sera covers international affairs from a conservative perspective, but uses a similar centre-left standpoint to cover domestic affairs. The newspapers' previous coverage of G7 related issues have focused on world economy, and regional security, given the recent Eurozone crisis and security threats from neighboring countries in the Middle East.

Summit Coverage

The majority of G7 related articles published between May 1 and July 1 of 2015 were found in the most popular national newspaper, Corriera della Sera. Thirty per cent were found in La Stampa, 48.94% in Corriere della Sera and only 21.28 per cent in La Repubblica. Twenty-three per cent of articles portrayed the G7 in a negative light, while 17.02 per cent depicted it in a positive light. The majority of the articles, 55.32 per cent, did not show any clear rating of the G7 countries. Furthermore, 27.66 per cent of the articles were editorials, while only 2.13 per cent were opinion pieces. None of the articles mentioned the G7 protestors.

Issues

The three issues that received the most coverage in Italian media were world economy, regional security, and outreach and expansion. Eighty-three per cent of collected articles discussed the world economy, referring to the economic sanctions with Russia and the current Eurozone crisis. Eighty-one per cent of collected articles also mentioned Outreach and Expansion. Through this topic, the articles highlighted the current debates over Turkey's candidacy for European Union membership, the possibilities of a détente regarding relations between Russia and G7 countries. Both were on the agenda for the Summit in order to better security and protection in Europe and abroad.

In the domain of security, regional security was mentioned in 61.70 per cent of articles while terrorism was mentioned in 25.54 per cent of articles. They discussed the current challenges that extremism and radicalism emerging from the Middle East have posed to international and regional security. On the other hand, climate change was mentioned in 19.15 per cent of articles in anticipation of the COP21 talks.

Coverage of member and non-member countries

Throughout the articles collected, 38.30 per cent did not mention any particular country. Instead, the focus was on the G7 as a group. Nevertheless, the G7 countries that were most prominently mentioned throughout the articles collected in the Italian media were Germany as the host country (17.02 per cent), the United States and Italy, both mentioned in 21.28 per cent of the articles. France, however, was mentioned in only 2.13 per cent of the articles.

Italy's relations can help to explain the distributions of G7 countries covered throughout the articles. The United States is observed closely by Italian media for its prominence in world affairs. Germany, on the other hand, played a bilateral role as the Summit leader and as an important actor. Nonetheless, other G7 countries such as Japan, Canada, or the United Kingdom do not have explicit and direct relations to Italian affairs, and are thus not portrayed by Italian media.

Furthermore, over 63% of publications mentioned Russia, recently suspended from the former G8. Russia's overwhelming appearance can be explained by the recent economic sanctions placed on Russia by the other G7 countries due the conflict in Crimea. Furthermore, Greece was also a popular topic throughout the collected articles. In 2015, Greece faced a "Grexit" scare, meaning a possible exit from the European Union, caused by its significant financial struggle. Such an event was not only relevant in national Italian news, but also on the international stage.

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Japan

Newspaper profiles

The two newspapers used to analyze the G7 related issued through Japanese media are Yomiuri Shimbun and Mainichi Shimbun. The Yomiuri Shimbun was founded in November 1874 and had a circulation of 9,136,479 issues totalling the morning and evening issues in 2015 where approximately one in every five Japanese people read the Yomiuri. It is the world's most widely circulated newspaper. Yomiuri started off as a regional newspaper in the Kanto area, having hiragana characters next to the kanji characters in order to make it easier to read and though it became a nation-wide paper from 1952 and continues to maintain its populist ideology. Additionally it is considered to be one of the most conservative nation-wide newspapers with a centre-right perspective with pro-United States tendencies.

Mainichi Shimbun was founded in March 1872 and is considered the oldest newspaper in Japan. Though it was once one of the two leading newspapers with the Asahi Shimbun, its circulation has decreased in the past decades. It is currently the fourth most circulated newspaper with a circulation of 3,326,979 with morning and evening issues in 2015 following the Yomiuri, Asahi, and Seikyo, a daily religious publication by Soka Gakkai, a Japanese Buddhist religious movement. Mainichi Shimbun is read throughout the nation; however, it is more popular in the Kansai area and the prefecture with the greatest amount of readers is in Osaka. Mainichi Shimbun's ideology stands closer to centre-left and has a more liberal approach compared to the Yomiuri and also known to have anti-American and anti-government tendencies with sharp comments especially on Japanese-Korean and Sino-Japanese relations.

Summit coverage

The percentage distribution of G7-related articles across the two newspapers were fairly equal with 51.76 per cent by Yomiuri Shimbun and 48.24 per cent by Mainichi Shumbun. The majority of the articles, 61.76 per cent, portrayed the G7 from a neutral perspective. Nonetheless, 21.76 per cent of the articles had positive views of the G7 while only 9.41 per cent had negative views, showing how the G7 is mainly seen in a positive or neutral light. Fifty-nine per cent of the articles were news articles, 31.76 per cent were editorials, 7.06 per cent were opinion articles. There were only two articles mentioning summit protestors and both were by Mainichi Shimbun. One article portrayed the protest in neutral light, simply mentioning that a few thousand protestors against globalism and GMO products held demonstrations near the venue. However, the other article shines a more negative light on protestors and discusses how they had more conflict with the police where tear gas spray had to be used by the police and a few of the protestors were arrested.

Issue coverage

The most prominently discussed topics were regional security, world economy, and climate change covering 45.29 per cent, 30.49 per cent, and 13.53 per cent respectively. Regional security was discussed the most given that Russia, a former G8-nation, has been suspended for its actions in Ukraine. Many articles discuss the G7's policy on Russia. This coverage discussed the tension between the United States, who are willing to use force against Russia, and the other G7-nations, who want to settle through diplomatic talks (especially since the European nations are dependent on Russia as a source of economy and energy). Other regional security issues include Russia's dispute over the Kuril Islands with Japan, but also due to the rise of the Islamic State in the Middle East, and the dispute of naval coastlines of the East and South China Sea. The second most prominent topic of discussion was world economy, with Greece's financial crisis and the incoherence within the G7 nations about the newly created AIIB where UK and EU nations signed on to participate while the US, Canada and Japan did not. Thirdly, climate change was also a heavily discussed issue in light of the upcoming COP21 talks. China and India were brought to attention regarding climate control issues for the two emerging economies emission rates have significantly increases since the Kyoto Protocol was signed though they are still developing countries and climate control should be handled by developed countries.

The conflicting opinions within the G7 were also an issue discussed frequently in both newspapers. With mixed interest on the issue of Russia and the AIIB many articles discussed how the G7 was becoming a weaker entity and that the G20 is more important in the modern day. Yomiuri and Mainichi both discuss the difficulties of making worldly decisions without countries like China and India, which affect the world economically and environmentally. Being a more liberal newspaper, one article in the Mainichi Shimbun suggests that the G7 should become the G10 with Russia, China and India added on while the Yomiuri recognizes the decline in G7 and the rise of the G20 but does not mention change to be made.

Coverage of member and non-member countries

The articles heavily focused on Japan, the United States, and Germany where these nations were prominently mentioned in 54.71 per cent, 10.59 per cent, and 8.82 per cent of the articles, respectively. Clearly, Japan is given more attention for the main readers of the two newspapers are Japanese. However, not only was Japan mentioned about its involvement in the 2015 Elmau Summit but there were also articles discussing how Japan will be hosting the next summit in 2016. This also explains why Germany was mentioned more prominently than other European nations because of the fact that they were hosting the 2015 summit and the two national leaders had discussed the turnover of chair and host of the G7. There is more coverage of the United States than other nations because there are US military bases in Japan and Japan has a stronger relationship with the US than with other G7 countries. The two nations, along with Canada, also declined to be a part of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) while the United Kingdom and the European Union nations signed to become members. Overall, all G7 countries and leaders were portrayed positively or neutrally than they were negatively.

Russia was covered by 51.76 per cent of the articles, given that it had been suspended from the G8. The Crimean conflict was one of the main issues discussed at the 2015 G7 Summit. Russia also has direct conflict with Japan with the Kuril Island dispute, which caused increase in the number of articles discussing Russia. Forty-four per cent of the article discusses Ukraine and Prime Minister Abe was the first Japanese prime minister to ever visit Ukraine on June 5, 2015, two days prior to the summit. While Russia and Ukraine are prominently discussed for the breach in regional security, many of the leading five emerging economies—China, India, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa—are also brought to attention with discussion that the G7 should expand and add nations for a more thorough worldly discussion. China is heavily discussed being covered in 49.41 per cent of the articles for creating the AIIB affecting the world economy and becoming the second largest economy in the world, it's air pollution emission and the issues at East and South China Sea. Greece was discussed in 11.12 per cent of the articles, focusing on its debt crisis and it being unlikely to make the repayment for the loan from the International Monetary Fun (IMF).

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United Kingdom

Newspaper profiles

The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, and The Financial Times are considered to be leading daily newspapers in the UK. The Guardian is widely considered a left leaning newspaper. The Telegraph has conservative ideological leaning and is seen to have close ties to the British conservative party. The Financial Times has an international and business focus. The majority of FT readers are international and the paper's main competitor is The Wall Street Journal rather than another UK paper. Ideologically, the FT leans in favour of free-markets, business generally, and globalism. Of the three, The Guardian is most critical of the G8 while the FT is most positive in its coverage.

The average daily circulation for each paper as of June 2014 (according to the Audited Bureau of Circulation) is as follows: Telegraph 514,592; FT 220,532; Guardian 185,313.

Summit coverage

The majority of G7 coverage in the UK media occurred in news articles (78.57 per cent), while 16.67 per cent of articles were opinion pieces and 4.76 per cent were editorials. Seventy per cent of articles did not show a clear perspective on the G7, whereas 24.39 per cent portrayed it in a positive light and 4.88 per cent portrayed it in a negative light.

The vast majority of articles, accounting for 87.18 per cent the total, did not mention protests or protestors. Only 2.56 per cent of the articles mentioned the protestors in a positive light, while 10.26 per cent did not show any clear rating.

Issue coverage

Preparing for the upcoming COP21 meeting in Paris, which took place in December 2015, the topic of climate change emerged in 48.72 per cent of articles, resulting as the most prominent issue in UK coverage of the 2015 G7 Summit. The second most prominent topic was world economy accounting for 46.15 per cent of the articles. This can be tied to recent current events such as the ongoing Eurozone financial crisis affecting various countries throughout the continent as well as the possible negative or positive impacts that the British economy would sustain after a foreseen Brexit. Regional security was mentioned in 30.77 per cent of the articles, referring to the security threat posed by the instability in the Middle East, particularly from the civil war in Syria. 7.69 per cent of articles mentioned African development, while Global Health was mentioned by 15.38 per cent of articles collected. Furthermore, the issue of outreach and expansion was mentioned throughout 5.13 per cent of the articles, whereas food security and non-proliferation were both mentioned in 2.56 per cent of all the articles.

Coverage of member and non-member countries

As the host of the 2015 G7 Summit, Germany was the most prominent G7 member country mentioned in 40 per cent of the articles collected. Furthermore, given its unique status in the international political economy, the United States was mentioned in 22.50 per cent of the articles. Contrastingly, the United Kingdom was mentioned in 20 per cent of the articles, while France and Japan were mentioned in 2.50 per cent and 5 per cent of articles. Italy and Canada were the two G7 member countries that were not mentioned independently in the British media during the 2015 Summit. This can be explained by the lack of relevance of Canadian and Italian affairs in the British perspective. Ten per cent of articles did not mention any G7 member country.

Furthermore, the articles collected extensively reported on non-G7 member countries as well. Alexis Tsipras, re-elected Prime Minister of Greece, was mentioned in over 95 per cent of the articles, discussing the recent financial challenges that the country is faced with, as well as EU's approach to the bailout of Greece and its future in the Eurozone. Russia was mentioned in 22.50 per cent of articles, which discussed the security problems in Eastern Europe, posed by President Putin's actions in Crimea in 2014. China was mentioned in 20 per cent of articles, discussing the recent stagnation of the Chinese economy after a consistent growth in past years. India was the least prominent non-G7 member country, only mentioned in 2.50 per cent of articles collected.

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United States

Newspaper profiles

In order to analyze media coverage of the Schloss Elmau Summit, three leading American newspapers were chosen: The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. The New York Times currently has a daily circulation of 1,865,215 and a Sunday circulation of 2,517,307. The Washington Post has a daily circulation of 474,767 and a Sunday circulation of 838,014, whilst the The Wall Street Journal has a daily circulation of 2,378,827.

Whilst having the largest daily circulation out of these three major papers, The Wall Street Journal focuses greatly on both international and national business and economic reporting. The New York Times, which would be considered the de facto paper of record across the country, carries the largest influence within America; it has a broad scope with coverage of both domestic and international news, across different journalistic sections. Finally, The Washington Post, being based out of capital, prominently focuses on American domestic affairs and the internal affairs of the American government.

Focusing on political orientation, The Wall Street Journal's economic analysis often leans to the right, while its political reporting can be characterized as centre-left. The New York Times is considered to be a liberal, left-leaning publication. The Washington Post's ideological orientation veers towards it being considered conservative. The variety of ideological orientations provides a large and fair variety of political perspectives. In the past, coverage of the G7 forum by these three major newspapers have been largely positive, due to its effective means of addressing international issues.

Summit coverage

Out of the articles collected in the three newspapers between May 1 and July 1 of 2015, 73 per cent of articles were published in the New York Times, 15 per cent in the Wall Street Journal, and 12 per cent in the Washington Post. Ninety-two per cent of articles portrayed the G7 in a neutral light, and 3 per cent portrayed the G7 negatively, while only 5 per cent of articles produced no clear portrayal. Nevertheless, 79 per cent of the selected articles mentioned the 2015 G7 Summit, all in a neutral light. The summit protestors were portrayed negatively in 95 per cent of the articles; 3 per cent of the articles portrayed the protesters in a neutral light, whilst 2 per cent of the articles portrayed the summit protesters in a positive light. American coverage of the G7 Summit was very limited and mostly neutral. There was little negative coverage and some positive coverage.

Issue coverage

The articles chosen covered a vast range of issues. The two most prominent issues were regional security and world economy, the former being mentioned in 55 per cent of the articles, and the latter in 29 per cent of the articles. This trend can be explained by the ongoing conflicts eminent at the time of the summit, such as ongoing conflict in Syria, the security threat posed by the rise of the Islamic State as well as the conflict in the Ukraine, which greatly contributed to the abundance of coverage on regional security. Furthermore, the issue of world economy was the second most prominent due to the constant economic and financial challenges that nations face, such as the example of the Euro Crisis – including the Grexit dilemma – and the contrasting the case of the United States economy, recovering from the 2008 market crash.

Furthermore, both terrorism and climate change were addressed in 12 per cent of articles chosen, mainly referring to the COP21 meeting – which took place in Paris in late 2015 – as well as the eminent threat from the Middle East. Outreach and Expansion were mentioned by 4 per cent of the articles, leaving 3 per cent mentioning global health, and 2 per cent for African development, non-proliferation and intellectual property.

Coverage of member and non-member countries

The United States itself was covered most prominently in 70 per cent of articles, together with Russia with 49 per cent. Ukraine received the most coverage as a non-G7 country, being mentioned in 50 per cent of the articles.

Being placed in the spotlight by its media, the United States was the G7 member who received the most coverage. It was followed by Russia, Ukraine, and Germany. Coverage of Russia and Ukraine was intensive most likely due to the situation in the Ukraine – creating regional instability in Europe. Iraq and Syria were also mentioned due to the growing threat of terrorism in the region – specifically ISIS.

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This Information System is provided by the University of Toronto Library and the G7 and G8 Research Group at the University of Toronto.
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This page was last updated May 29, 2016.

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