Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Criminology and Criminal Justice
Dr. Pauline Brennan
My dissertation examines how white, black, and Latina female victims are differentially portrayed in front-page newspaper stories. I hypothesized there would be differences across the three groups in 1) the total number of front-page stories, 2) coverage intensity and use of photographs, 3) presence of unsympathetic and sympathetic themes in newspaper stories, and 4) overall story narratives. To test my expectations, I examined front-page newspaper stories about female victims from seven widely-circulated U.S. newspapers from the calendar year 2006 with a mixed-methods approach. I found more front-page stories about white female victims than black and Latina female victims. In addition, white female victims were more likely to receive national/international coverage than black and Latina female victims. With regard to the differential presence of unsympathetic themes, stories about black female victims were significantly more likely to contain the “bad person” and “unsafe environment” themes than stories about white and Latina female victims (when assessed at the bivariate level). In contrast, when assessed at the bivariate level, stories about white female victims were significantly more likely than stories about black and Latina female victims to contain sympathetic themes (such as the “media attention mentioned” and “safe environment” themes). When the effects of a female victim’s race and ethnicity were analyzed at the multivariate level, stories about both black and Latina female victims were more likely to produce unsympathetic overall story narratives (rather than overall sympathetic narratives) of the victim. These findings are consistent with predictions gleaned from critical race feminist thought and illuminate the ways in which white, black, and Latina female victims are differentially portrayed in news stories.
Slakoff, Danielle C., "The Representation of Female Victims in Front-Page News Stories: The Effect of Race/Ethnicity" (2018). Student Work. 3708.