Date of Award

August 2019

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Media Studies

Advisor(s)

Carol Liebler

Keywords

BLM, Framing, News Reporting, Public Opinion, Social Commentary, Social Protest

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

Communication and media studies scholars have commonly accepted that the news media has significant influence on the public, so the tendency to marginalize protest groups as socially deviant, can have serious implications for the cause being protested. This two-part qualitative study first examined news coverage of racially charged protests surrounding the controversial judicial ruling regarding the death of Trayvon Martin. News coverage of protests that followed the verdict was analyzed based on elements consistent with Framing theory, using a Critical Discourse Analysis methodology. The second part of the study analyzed the same news articles corresponding comment sections, in order to examine the public’s social commentary regarding the protest reported on in the news articles. This study examines how biased speech in news journalism can influence public opinion, ultimately negatively affecting protests and protested causes. The news articles varied with respect to their coverage of the events, consistent with framing theory, and as a result, revealed several dominant themes within their comment sections. Themes were reflective of both individual news articles and their comment sections, as well as contained overarching themes among all articles. This research ultimately helps to establish the direct relationships between news reporting, and its effect on the attitudes and sentiments expressed by the public.Communication and media studies scholars have commonly accepted that the news media has significant influence on the public, so the tendency to marginalize protest groups as socially deviant, can have serious implications for the cause being protested. This two-part qualitative study first examined news coverage of racially charged protests surrounding the controversial judicial ruling regarding the death of Trayvon Martin. News coverage of protests that followed the verdict was analyzed based on elements consistent with Framing theory, using a Critical Discourse Analysis methodology. The second part of the study analyzed the same news articles corresponding comment sections, in order to examine the public’s social commentary regarding the protest reported on in the news articles. This study examines how biased speech in news journalism can influence public opinion, ultimately negatively affecting protests and protested causes. The news articles varied with respect to their coverage of the events, consistent with framing theory, and as a result revealed several dominant themes within their comment sections. Themes were reflective of both individual news articles and their comment sections, as well as contained overarching themes among all articles. This research ultimately helps to establish the direct relationships between news reporting, and its effect on the attitudes and sentiments expressed by the public.

Access

Open Access

Share

COinS
 
 

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.