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The Social Construction of the United States-Mexican Border: A Content Analysis of Two Newspapers

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This study examines the social construction of the border by researching how frequently select issues are written about by the media of both countries, and in what light two different

This study examines the social construction of the border by researching how frequently select issues are written about by the media of both countries, and in what light two different groups of actors (Mexico and the US) are portrayed. The Dallas-based The Dallas Morning News, and the Monterrey-based, El Norte are the two newspapers chosen to perform the content analysis. Furthermore, this study seeks to examine differences in the way both newspapers portray the US-Mexico border in 1994, or the year NAFTA began, and 2012, the most recent year for which data is available. A major find of this study is the discovery of how even though the frequency that select issues are brought up in the border vary drastically by year and newspaper, portrayals of the actors around the border stay fairly consistent. More specifically, with the exception of NAFTA in 1994, border issues outside of crime, illegal immigration, drug violence, and the economy, are rarely mentioned by the two selected newspapers a significant amount of the time. Also, issues at the border such as crime, drug violence, and national security are often portrayed as the fault of Mexico and Mexican actors, while immigration issues at the border are often blamed exclusively on each newspaper's host countries.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05