Saturday, September 24, 2016


Focusing on the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, this study examined the framing of mainstream newspaper coverage of social media activism in the aftermath of the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. People of color primarily used the hashtag to draw attention to what they perceived as negative stereotypes perpetuated by the news media. The study employed a textual analysis of news coverage followed by semi-structured interviews with hashtag-protest participants. The analysis found that the mainstream media followed news production rituals by relying primarily on elite, established sources and generally ignoring the social media protestors’ voices. The social media protestors who used the hashtag said they employed it to bypass the mainstream media, and this research indicates they may well have done so and possibly reached a younger generation that relies more on social media than legacy media.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Monica Lewinsky and Shame

This study examines mainstream newspaper coverage of Monica Lewinsky in 1998, the year her relationship with President Bill Clinton came to public light. It looks at how a private citizen became a media phenomenon and takes into account Lewinsky's 2015 TED Talk, in which she discussed her public shaming. The analysis of 175 articles in the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times showed that Lewinsky was among the first viral internet sensations. As she noted in her talk 17 years later, the news media exploited and shamed her, speculating about her life to an extent that no other private figure had endured. The news frames used by the newspapers reflected stereotypical shaming narratives about sexualized women who do not conform to the traditional, passive role prescribed by the dominant patriarchal ideology. Lewinsky was portrayed solely in the context of her association with men. The newspapers also portrayed feminists as a homogeneous group that was hypocritical in its responses.