Qatar Airways, whose parent company is the government of Qatar, has offered generous sponsorship of Sky News’ weather reports over the last decade, write Tal Samuel-Azran and Inbal Assaf, of Sammy Ofer School of Communications. The study examines whether national companies’ sponsorship of content on global news media leads to more positive coverage of the sponsoring country.
The study analyses Sky News coverage of Qatari affairs between August 2013 and December 2014 focusing on the coverage of two events: allegations regarding Qatar’s sponsorship of terror groups and allegations that Qatar bribed FIFA officials to win the 2022 World Cup bid. The researchers compare Sky News’ coverage of Qatari affairs with that of CNN International and Independent Television (ITV).
The overall coverage of Qatari affairs shows that Sky News was the most positive of the three networks. When covering Qatar’s alleged terror sponsorship Sky News provided the most positive coverage on Qatar, but when covering Qatari sport affairs the same trend did not apply.
The authors argue that sponsorship of content on global news platforms by national companies can lead to better coverage of the sponsoring country during times of image crisis.
The article “Was Sky News softer on Qatari affairs due to Qatar Airways’ sponsorship of Sky weather reports? An empirical analysis” was published by Critical Studies in Media Communication and it is available here.
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