Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2019

Capstone Advisor

Emily Thorson

Honors Reader

Shana Gadarian

Capstone Major

Political Science

Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component



media coverage, school shootings, agenda-setting, indexing theory, episodic and thematic framing

Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

American Politics


This study examines how The New York Times covered the Newtown, Connecticut and Parkland, Florida school shootings, with specific attention to whose voices are heard and how media attention changes over time. A content analysis of 576 New York Times articles found that more articles were published on the Newtown shooting than on the Parkland shooting. In the first six months of coverage for both shootings, politicians were quoted more often than victims or parents, and stories largely discussed the shooting using a thematic frame; focusing on the issue of gun control. The evidence also suggests that activist-planned events helped to increase media coverage. These findings are important because they show that when it comes to the issue of school shootings, readers of The New York Times will largely see these events through the lens of the political debates surrounding gun control, rather than via the voices and opinions of parents and victims of either shooting.


For an accessible version of this document, email request to



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.