Brexit’s consequences: News mentions of “Grexit” up 709%

by | Jun 23, 2016 | Analysis, Online News, Politics and Government - UK

The United Kingdom is this week prepping for a referendum on whether or not to leave the European Union, a political tug-of-war that’s been dubbed the “Brexit” by observers and media alike.

It’s a situation that’s caused some intense hand-wringing among those in favour of staying (as well as most stock market investors). Some observers have even gone so far as to predict that a Brexit could cause European stock markets to crash spectacularly. It has also spurred a ton of media coverage on the implications of such a split, with Bloomberg News even running a real-time Brexit tracker.

But what it has also done, unwittingly, is provide a generous confidence boost to a host of other secession movements across the globe, thanks (in part) to a recent spike in media interest and coverage on those movements.

After all, you can be sure nationalists in Texas, Scotland, Catalunya in Spain, and Quebec in Canada (along with dozens of other places around the world) all have their ears finely tuned to the results coming out of the UK this week.

Same with those in Greece, Spain, France, and Sweden who are looking to remove their countries from the EU.

What we wanted to know was which of those movements have received the most attention. So we used our media monitoring and analysis software to track online media coverage of various secession and independence movements, to determine which have received the most coverage since Brexit chatter really began heating up at the beginning of May.

brexit share of voice chartSo far—and most likely because the region underwent an independence referendum fairly recently—the spectre of Scottish secession has been the most mentioned by far.

But other movements that were barely mentioned in the mainstream press before this week have recently taken off. Mentions of the keyword “Texit”, for instance, referring to Texas independence, are up 345 per cent between May 1-June 18 and June 19-22.

(Of course, part of these spikes in mentions also has to do with the media’s obsession with using trendy catchphrases and nicknames in their stories).

brexit mentions over time chart

What’s probably even more concerning for EU officials, though, is that mentions of other European nations potentially leaving the union has also tracked upward this week.

You can see from the chart above the significant spikes in mentions of both secession and anti-EU movements in the past couple of days. A spike of recent news stories have mentioned the prospects of a Grexit or Swexit (that’s the nickname given to the anti-EU movement in Sweden) as the next potential dominoes to fall.

Indeed, as the chart above shows, mentions of a potential Grexit in online news has jumped an astounding 709 per cent from June 17-19 to June 20-22.

Whichever way the political winds blow in Britain this week, you can be sure that the ubiquitous hordes of nationalist movements across the globe won’t miss a thing.

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Jim Donnelly
Jim Donnelly graduated with a BA in History/English from Wilfrid Laurier University and a MJ from Carleton University. Jim heads Agility PR Solutions’ Media Insights Group which oversees the production of public and client media analysis reports and infographics. Jim was previously editor of the Ottawa Business Journal and related publications such as Ottawa Technology Magazine and Meeting in the Capital.


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