Maija Ozola-Schade was awarded with the SComS (Studies in Communication Studies) Best Paper Award in 2022 for her paper "Intergroup relations and media: The effects of media system quality in explaining immigration attitudes", published in Vol. 22, Issue 2.
This paper investigates whether the quality of the media system contributes to a well-informed public that is more likely to reinforce democratic values and thus have more positive attitudes toward immigration. The European Social Survey data (2002-2018) from 19 European countries were combined with media quality indicators from the Varieties of Democracy project and studied in a cross-national comparative perspective. Results show that Europeans prefer immigrants that are ethnically more similar to the majority of the host society, regardless of time or given country. Furthermore, attitudes are more positive in countries with stronger public services. Moreover, a higher quality media system that reflects the level of media freedom, opinion plurality, self-governance, and objectivity, fosters pro-immigration attitudes, especially for immigrants who are ethnically different from the host society.
Jurors found that "[t]he findings of this comparative study are not only extremely important for research on migration, political communication and journalism, but also illustrate how important freedom of the press and democracy are for the quality of a media system and how this can affect social attitudes."