Race and Ethnicity in Local Television News: Framing, Story Assignments, and Source Selections

By Poindexter, Paula M.; Smith, Laura et al. | Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, December 2003 | Go to article overview

Race and Ethnicity in Local Television News: Framing, Story Assignments, and Source Selections


Poindexter, Paula M., Smith, Laura, Heider, Don, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media


**********

Although the news media landscape at the end of the 20th century had been filled with an array of news sources, more Americans turned to local television for news than any other medium. According to the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press (2000), 56% of Americans watched local television news regularly but only 46% read newspapers regularly. Still fewer adults turned to network news (30%), CNN (21%), and news magazines (12%), and three days a week or more, 23% of Americans looked to the Internet for news. Because of its dominance as a news source, local television news may also be a dominant force in influencing perceptions of race and ethnicity in communities across America. By examining the presence and coverage of African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and Native Americans in local television news, it may be possible to identify how this dominant news source may be influencing how people of color are perceived and the implications of those perceptions.

Although the poor track records of the networks in representing people of color have been fairly well-documented (Carveth & Alverio, 1999; Entman, 1994; Roberts, 1975; Ziegler & White, 1990), there has been less evidence about local stations. Most studies on local television news have focused on one market (Entman, 1990, 1992; Entman & Rojecki, 2000), or a variety of markets on one given day (Campbell, 1995). What has been missing is a more comprehensive look at local television and its primary product, news. The goal of this study is to examine the presence and coverage of people of color in local television news in different geographic regions and across different newscasts, markets, and time periods.

News Media Representations of Race

One of the earliest systematic examinations of the news media's coverage of race was conducted by the Kerner Commission more than 3 decades ago. In response to riots during the summer of 1967, President Lyndon Johnson appointed the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, which became known as the Kerner Commission, to find out what happened, why the riots happened, and what could be done to prevent riots from happening again. As part of its analysis of the causes of the riots, the Kerner Commission looked at the media's role in the civic unrest and concluded that the press had failed to adequately report on the underlying problems that led to the riots. The Kerner Commission also criticized the news media for reporting from a White-only perspective and failing to report the history, culture, and activities of Blacks in American society (Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, 1968). Noting that fewer than 5% of U.S. journalists were Black and far fewer were in decision-making positions, the Kerner Commission said the journalism profession had been "shockingly backward" in seeking out, hiring, training, and promoting Blacks (Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, 1968, p. 384).

Since 1968, there has been little significant change in the news media coverage of people of color. Scholars who study race and television news have found that people of color are often neglected, misrepresented, or stereotyped (Campbell, 1995; Dates & Barlow, 1990; Deepe Keever, Martindale, & Weston, 1997; Entman, 1992, 1994; Entman & Rojecki, 2000; Gandy, 1998; Gilliam & Iyenjar, 2000; Poindexter & Stroman, 1981; Roberts, 1975; Wilson & Gutierrez, 1995; Ziegler & White, 1990). Although researchers have paid comparatively less attention to the topic of race and television news since the 1968 Kerner Commission criticisms, there have been some noteworthy studies.

Roberts (1975) coded network news programs for speaking and non-speaking appearances of Blacks to determine the degree of their visibility. Roberts found Blacks were not very visible and had little voice, especially when it came to world or national affairs. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Race and Ethnicity in Local Television News: Framing, Story Assignments, and Source Selections
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.