Media Portrayals of Minorities Project

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The Media Portrayals of Minorities Project posts brief updates our projects below.
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December 11, 2018

The News about Africa

It is no secret that bad news sells. Stories about violence, disaster, and scandal are more likely to capture readers’ attention than tales of daily life. Even so, journalists and scholars have argued that Western media coverage of Africa is especially negative. In a 2013 Guardian article, for example, Remi Adekoya accuses the media of “propagating negative stereotypes of Africa as a nest of poverty and problems,” paralleling scholarly claims of disproportionate coverage of danger, darkness, violence, poverty, hopelessness, backwardness, savagery, and primitiveness.

November 16, 2018

The Downfall of Crown Prince Charming

In the weeks since the October 2, 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, news outlets have worked tirelessly to piece together the facts of his death and disprove the lies of the Saudi state. On November 16, 2018 the Washington Post reported the CIA’s conclusion that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, heir to the Saudi throne, had ordered the killing.

October 18, 2018

What Makes Muslim Devotion Exceptional?

Under what circumstances is media coverage of Muslims positive? The answer is, almost none. However, when we examined over 800,000 articles that mentioned Islam or Muslims in dozens of newspapers from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Australia, we were able to pinpoint one type of article that was marginally positive: articles that mention devotion.

September 6, 2018

Sexual Violence and Misconduct

As media coverage and overall visibility of survivors of sexual violence and misconduct has increased in recent months, how has it changed from previous years? And do these changes, if any, reveal a transition in coverage from being episodic to more thematic in nature?

August 15, 2018

Refugees in European News

The immigrants we see in the media do not necessarily correspond to the immigrants who come to live with us. In their analysis of the British media, Blinder and Allen show that media reports often write about asylum seekers and “illegal” immigrants. Yet, immigrant workers, family members, and international students constitute by far the numerically larger immigrant flows.

June 14, 2018

Headlines about Muslims, Jews, and Catholics

How do major newspapers portray Muslims in comparison to Jews or Catholics? Most scholars find that the media reinforce negative messages about Muslims. But what if all religious groups are depicted in a negative light? We analyzed the tone of over 2,000 headlines about Muslims, Jews, and Catholics from The New York Times and The Guardian to explore how the media cover these groups. This generates two key insights.