Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mass Communications


Dennis F. Kinsey


Anniversary journalism, Berlin Wall, Collective memory, Television news, Visual culture, Visual studies

Subject Categories

Communication | Journalism Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences


This study employs a multimodal close reading to examine and compare how NBC's Nightly News and various primetime CNN news shows construct the story of the Berlin Wall's opening from 1990 through 2009. It does so first by examining the networks' 1989 coverage and assessing the themes and ideologies circulated when the Berlin Wall's opening was breaking news. These themes and ideologies are used as a baseline to assess anniversary coverage that aired from 1990 through 2009. In the process of this close reading, special attention is paid to silences and omissions amid itin images and spoken discourses; the circulation of World War II and Holocaust-related discourses; and the influence of hypermediacy and liveness on the programming. The results show that the coverage coheres into two distinct typologies: anniversary-as-process and anniversary-as-spectacle, two new concepts introduced by this dissertation. The implications for anniversary journalism, public memory of the Berlin Wall and collective memory of World War II are discussed.


Open Access