The recent Venezuelan Exodus has had significant consequences for many of its neighboring countries. The close proximity of the island of Aruba makes it an attractive destination for many fleeing Venezuelans. This thesis will uncover Aruban news’ representations of undocumented Venezuelans through the law enforcement and the human interest frame, and explore the audience reception through an analysis of the comment section. The theoretical framework expounds the traditional law enforcement and human interest media frames in relation to migrants and refugees in media scholarship. Furthermore, the role of social media was explored through the reception theory in order to compare and contrast audience responses. Through a thematic analysis of the comment section in relation to themes present in news media videos on Facebook, the following research question was answered: How does 24Ora’s Facebook audience engage with news about undocumented Venezuelans on Aruba and do the video representations portray the traditional law enforcement or human interest media frames? The thematic analysis was guided by a codebook that was created based on the theoretical framework. The main findings from both video and comment sections corroborated previous research in which undocumented individuals are predominantly framed through the law enforcement frame in news media. Notably, the human interest frame was also present in one particular video in which the undocumented Venezuelan shed light on his personal circumstance. The comment section underneath this particular video was significantly more empathetic towards the refugee as a result of this representation. Together, this accentuates the previous literature that demands that refugee and immigrants’ representation tends to focus on negative connotations in which these groups are depicted as a threat to society, and are therefore unwelcomed as a whole. Moreover, the videos also highlight the impact that an authentic refugee voice has on the comment section response and shows that this might attenuate discrimination and increase compassion. Future research in adjacent countries should be conducted in order to investigate the representation of Venezuelan refugees, undocumented Venezuelans and migrants due to its significant implications presented in this thesis.

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Awad, I.
Media, Culture & Society
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Gomez Ruiz, Geraldine. (2021, June). A Thematic Analysis of Facebook Users’ Engagement with News about undocumented Venezuelans on Aruba analyzed through the traditional law enforcement and human interest media frames. Media, Culture & Society. Retrieved from