Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-2017

Capstone Advisor

Shana Gadarian

Honors Reader

Lamis Abdelaaty

Capstone Major

Political Science

Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

Mass Communication | Political Science | Social Influence and Political Communication | Social Media


The purpose of this research is to understand, through the intergroup threat theory, how the national and local press perceive unaccompanied minors through their media coverage. Using the 2014 immigration crisis, during which an exodus of unaccompanied minors crossed into the United States beginning in 2013, this paper investigates two central ideas: first, how does media coverage of young unaccompanied immigrants differ from the media coverage of non-minor immigrants? Second, how does spatial proximity to the American-Mexican border affect the tone of the media coverage young unaccompanied immigrants receive? I sampled two national newspapers and two local newspapers to interpret, via content analysis, how the intergroup threat theory shapes the media's coverage of young unaccompanied immigrants. This paper derived three main findings: first, regardless of locality, the media associates unaccompanied minors with fewer symbolic threats than non-minor immigrants. Second, national media associates immigrant minors with higher levels of positive and negative symbolic frames than the local media. Third, local media associates fewer symbolic and realistic threats with unaccompanied minors than the national media.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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