Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of English

Content Description

1 online resource (iv, 33 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

David Wagner

Committee Members

Virginia Eubanks


accused criminals, Black Lives Matter, media, newspaper, Black lives matter movement, Crime and race, Mass media, African Americans in mass media, Race in mass media, Mass media and race relations

Subject Categories



Media impacts our everyday lives and shapes how we understand the world around us. It assists in creating social hierarchies which impact how groups of people are represented and understood. These hierarchies have led to the generation of stereotypes and disparate reporting practices in media. However, social movements tend to be created to provide evidence against these stereotypes and the movements attempt to undo disparate treatment of marginalized groups. This study had three hypotheses: Hypothesis 1 stated that prior to the generation of the Black Lives Movement, media depictions of black and white accused criminals will differ. Hypothesis 2 stated that a reduction in the degree of difference between white and black accused criminals during the rise and plateau of the BLM movement will be found. Hypothesis 3 predicted depictions of white and black accused criminals will retain some degree of difference through the plateauing of the BLM movement. This study examines reporting practices within the New York Times and the Arizona Republic for Black and White accused criminals across the emergence, rise, and plateau of the Black Lives Matter movement. Six hundred articles were collected, 300 from each newspaper, and broken down into groups of 50 for each of the three time periods. Partial support was found for Hypotheses 1 and 2 in both newspapers. Hypothesis 3 was fully supported in the New York Times but was not supported in the Arizona Republic. This research takes the first step in analyzing a possible impact that social movements can have on newspaper reporting practices. It also allows for future examination of social movements practices to determine strategies that help or hinder the movement and its message.

Included in

Sociology Commons