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Language Used when Covering People with Disabilities

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News outlets frequently portray people with disabilities as either helpless victims or objects of motivation. Portrayal of people with disabilities has improved over the years, but there is still room to grow. News outlets tend to make disability the center

News outlets frequently portray people with disabilities as either helpless victims or objects of motivation. Portrayal of people with disabilities has improved over the years, but there is still room to grow. News outlets tend to make disability the center of the story. A story about a disabled person is primarily about their disability, with their other accomplishments framed by it.

As one example of the victimhood narrative, ABC News used to run a special called My Extreme Affliction as part of 20/20 until 2012. As the name implies, the specials covered people with disabilities, specifically extreme versions. One 2008 episode on Tourette’s syndrome described Tourette’s like it was some sort of demonic possession. The narrator talked about children who were “prisoners in their own bodies” and a family that was at risk of being “torn apart by Tourette’s.” I have Tourette’s syndrome myself, which made ABC’s special especially uncomfortable to watch. When not wringing their metaphorical hands over the “victims” of disability, many news outlets fall into the “supercrip” narrative. They refer to people as “heroes” who “overcome” their disabilities to achieve something that ranges from impressive to utterly mundane. The main emphasis is on the disability rather than the person who has it. These articles then exploit that disability to make readers feel good. As a person with a disability, I am aware that it impacts my life, but it is not the center of my life. The tics from my Tourette’s syndrome made it difficult to speak to people when I was younger, but even then they did not rule me.

Disability coverage, however, is still incredibly important for promoting acceptance and giving people with disabilities a voice. A little over a fifth of adults in the United States have a disability (CDC: 53 million adults in the US live with a disability), so poor coverage means marginalizing or even excluding a large amount of people. Journalists should try to reach their entire audience. The news helps shape public opinion with the stories it features. Therefore, it should provide visibility for people with disabilities in order to increase acceptance. This is a matter of civil rights. People with disabilities deserve fair and accurate representation.

My personal experience with ABC’s Tourette’s special leads me to believe that the media, especially the news, needs to be more responsible in their reporting. Even the name “My Extreme Affliction” paints a poor picture of what to expect. A show that focuses on sensationalist portrayals in pursuit of views further ostracizes people with disabilities. The emphasis should be on a person and not their condition. The National Center for Disability Journalism tells reporters to “Focus on the person you are interviewing, not the disability” (Tips for interviewing people with disabilities). This people-first approach is the way to improve disability coverage: Treat people with disabilities with the same respect as any other minority group.

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2019-05

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JUST ONE OF THE GUYS? AN ANALYSIS OF THE PRINT-MEDIA COVERAGE JANET NAPOLITANO RECEIVED IN THE 2002 ARIZONA GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION

Description

This thesis analyzes the print-media coverage of female candidates for public office in Arizona. Former research has found that, historically, female candidates receive less overall coverage, less issue coverage, and more coverage focused on appearance and family in comparison to

This thesis analyzes the print-media coverage of female candidates for public office in Arizona. Former research has found that, historically, female candidates receive less overall coverage, less issue coverage, and more coverage focused on appearance and family in comparison to their male counterparts. Such biased coverage has countless detrimental effects on female candidates in influencing the public's perception of their viability as candidates and their ability to perform in office. To explore how female candidates in Arizona are treated by their local print media, I specifically analyzed how the two largest newspapers in Arizona, The Arizona Republic and Arizona Daily Star, covered Janet Napolitano as a gubernatorial candidate in 2002. In the first chapter, I compared general election coverage of Napolitano to that of her male opponents Matt Salmon, Richard Mahoney, and Barry Hess. In the second chapter, I compared in-depth general election articles about Napolitano to in-depth general election articles about Jan Brewer during her campaign for governor in 2010. From the first chapter, then, I could analyze coverage differences between female and male candidates, and from the second chapter I could examine coverage differences between female candidates with very different lifestyles. In conjunction, these two chapters produced a broad picture of the media climate for female gubernatorial candidates in Arizona.

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Date Created
2014-05

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Comparative Analysis of the Effects of Media on Hyperlocal Elections

Description

Although smaller and more local elections could have implications more dramatic to an individual than larger district-, state-, and nation-wide elections do, very few citizens vote in them. Moreover, citizens are limited in procuring further information on candidates, issues, and

Although smaller and more local elections could have implications more dramatic to an individual than larger district-, state-, and nation-wide elections do, very few citizens vote in them. Moreover, citizens are limited in procuring further information on candidates, issues, and the overall election when there are fewer sources of such information across various mediums. While existing literature on political communication and voter participation does not yet extend far enough to sufficiently address the most local aspects of media effects on elections, the political science field’s dominating frameworks would suggest that an increase in news media, social media, and ground mobilization tactics would increase civic engagement and voter participation. My research, which focuses on hyperlocal elections, both supports a​nd​refutes certain elements of that suggestion. Based on surveys of potential voters in a university’s student government election and a school board election, interviews with two student government presidential candidates, and an analysis of social media engagement, my research compares three mass media platforms and two elections to characterize the effects of media on hyperlocal elections—that certain tactics have drastically different results on different populations. My research expands the body of media and politics knowledge to include hyperlocal elections, suggesting that civic engagement on the local levels require increased further study.

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2015-05

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Wolf Girls and Witches: Women and Feminism in the Films of Hayao Miyazaki

Description

Japanese animated film director Hayao Miyazaki is famous for his numerous film featuring female protagonists. These protagonists have been examined for their conformance and deviance with regard to widespread stereotypes of masculine and feminine traits. Miyazaki's female characters tend to

Japanese animated film director Hayao Miyazaki is famous for his numerous film featuring female protagonists. These protagonists have been examined for their conformance and deviance with regard to widespread stereotypes of masculine and feminine traits. Miyazaki's female characters tend to exhibit nuanced and varied traits, with a balance of traditionally masculine and feminine characteristics. They also tend to demonstrate and moralize on larger social issues such as environmentalism and gender equality, advancing ideals for both Japanese and Western feminism. The status of these female protagonists as cultural icons is contrary to wider film trends that exclude women from the spotlight except when they conform to rigid gender roles.

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2013-05

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Examining Bias in the Media's Coverage of the 2012 Third Presidential Debate: Does a Bias Exist? And if so, Does That Bias Spread Across the Network as a Whole or is it Isolated to a Certain Show?

Description

Examining whether or not a bias exists on individual shows on CNN, FOX News, and MSNBC by using content analysis. Each individual show following the third presidential debate was coded using content analysis, then that information was used to determine

Examining whether or not a bias exists on individual shows on CNN, FOX News, and MSNBC by using content analysis. Each individual show following the third presidential debate was coded using content analysis, then that information was used to determine whether a bias existed on any of the shows and then whether or not a bias existed across the network as a whole.

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Date Created
2013-05

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How Different Kinds of Media Drive Social Change: A Black Lives Matter Case Study

Description

As America undergoes a modern, civil rights movement, the reality of police brutality can no longer be disregarded by everyday voters. The Black Lives Matter movement has become ubiquitous, both in real life and in the media, after the murder

As America undergoes a modern, civil rights movement, the reality of police brutality can no longer be disregarded by everyday voters. The Black Lives Matter movement has become ubiquitous, both in real life and in the media, after the murder of George Floyd. This moment has made way for widespread video coverage of police brutality incidents, a litany of written think pieces dissecting the long-term effectiveness of the police, and a myriad of articles discussing prospective policy actions. With a rise in coverage comes a heightened level of awareness of and conversation around this issue. We have witnessed the pervasiveness of the Black Lives Matter movement and an increasing conversation around the allocation of funding towards police departments. Change has been sparked, but which form of media has most effectively influenced the public? Seeing as one of the principal goals of police-related advocacy groups is to fulfill their vision of a properly functioning police force, including in relation to accountability and reform, it is vital to understand which medium the public is most receptive to. This study and its design serve to examine how exposure to different media regarding police brutality affects people’s opinions on Black Lives Matter, police reform policies, and similar changes. Moving forward, social movements will have a better understanding of which types of media can best target the public when trying to coalesce support around their movement.

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2021-05

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Polarization and Profit: Newsrooms Need to Leave Both Behind

Description

This thesis examines the current polarization of news media, specifically written journalism, either in newspapers or on news websites. Americans increasingly get their news from polarized sources, and that is leading to a large divide in information. This issue is

This thesis examines the current polarization of news media, specifically written journalism, either in newspapers or on news websites. Americans increasingly get their news from polarized sources, and that is leading to a large divide in information. This issue is also exacerbated by political idealogy. Furthermore, I explore how the traditional business model of advertising-based revenue is leading to more polarized news coverage. To combat this, I offer interventions for news organizations, including the importance of journalistic ethics and the possibility of more news organizations transferring to nonprofit status, which has gained traction in recent years. Access to accurate news and information is essential in a functioning democracy, and if polarization and issues in news continue, it will be harmful to America as a whole.

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Date Created
2021-05

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The Jodi Arias Trial: Media Involvement and Court Response

Description

There has long been conflict between the First and Sixth Amendments, particularly press freedoms and the right of a defendant to have a fair trial. This thesis expands on this conflict, and potential solutions, by looking at the 2013 trial

There has long been conflict between the First and Sixth Amendments, particularly press freedoms and the right of a defendant to have a fair trial. This thesis expands on this conflict, and potential solutions, by looking at the 2013 trial of Jodi Arias. It further elaborates on what responsibilities the courts, and the media, have in protecting a defendant’s right to an impartial jury. The first section of this thesis addresses conflict between the First and Sixth Amendments, the ways that the justice system works to resolve these conflicts, and similar high-profile cases demonstrating the conflict. The second part of this thesis explains the complex events of both the trial and the sentencing retrial. Next, media coverage of the trial will be compared with how the presiding judge attempted to protect Arias’ rights. By the end of this thesis, readers will be able to understand the evolution of the First and Sixth Amendments, how the justice system reconciles differences between the two and how coverage shifted throughout the trial. Finally, readers will be able to see how saturated media coverage impacted Arias’ right to a fair trial, and what this means for high profile criminal cases in the future. This thesis makes recommendations both for the justice system and for media organizations, on how to prevent similar issues seen in the Arias trial from occurring in future trials. The hope is that through an analysis of the Arias trial, and the recommendations made at the conclusion of the thesis, judges and media organizations will be able to work together to better protect both the First and Sixth Amendments to the best of their ability.

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Created

Date Created
2019-05

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Italian Sports Dailies’ Coverage of Afro-Italian Soccer Players: A Reflection of the Perceptions of Race and Identity in Italy

Description

Coverage of Black soccer players by Italian media outlets perpetuate narratives rooted in anti-Black racism. These narratives reflect the country’s changing attitude toward immigration. Historically a country from which citizens emigrated, it is now a recipient of immigrants from Africa.

Coverage of Black soccer players by Italian media outlets perpetuate narratives rooted in anti-Black racism. These narratives reflect the country’s changing attitude toward immigration. Historically a country from which citizens emigrated, it is now a recipient of immigrants from Africa. These changing demographics have also caused a shift in the focus of racism in Italy, from discrimination against southern Italians to anti-Black racism. As the country has explored what defines a unified Italian identity, Afro-Italians have been excluded. This study evaluates how these perceptions of Afro-Italian soccer players manifest according to various racial frames, and the frequency with which they do so in three Italian sports dailies: La Gazzetta dello Sport, Corriere dello Sport – Stadio, and Tuttosport. In this context, Afro-Italian refers to an Italian citizen of African descent, and anti-Black racism denotes any form of discrimination, stereotyping, or racism that specifically impacts those of African descent. For this study, a representative sample was collected consisting of website coverage published by the three sports dailies: articles devoted to Mario Balotelli that appeared between 2007 and 2014, and articles devoted to Moise Kean between 2016 and 2019. Three coders recorded the content of the sample articles on a spreadsheet organized by the type of racial frame applied to Black athletes. The analysis reveals that the players were frequently portrayed as being incapable of self-determination and of having an innate, natural athletic capability, rather than one honed through practice. The coders noted that in addition to explicit racial framing, there were also instances of implicit and subtle ways these racial frames manifest. In future research, the coding procedure will need to be adapted to account for these more layered and nuanced manifestations of anti-Black racism.

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Created

Date Created
2021-05