Abstract

In 2015, a Vanderbilt football player Cory Batey was sentenced to fifteen years in prison on sexual assault charges. That same year, Brock Turner, a White Stanford swimmer, was also found guilty of sexual assault but was sentenced to just six months in jail. Batey was Black and Turner was White and the differences in their legal fates played out in news articles and broadcasts. This study compares the news coverage of Batey and Turner to examine how they were framed differently in news media. To carry out my study, I conducted a framing analysis on twenty online, written news articles, and their accompanying images as well as twenty-one national news broadcasts. I analyzed the sources, paying close attention to both linguistic and visual means of framing such as word choice and picture choice. My analysis uncovered two sets of frames in news coverage of these cases. The first frame presented the outcome of each case as either one of rightful punishment or lost promise. In the second frame, subordination versus agency, Batey and Turner were presented as either in a subordinate position or one of agency and freedom. My conclusion points to the need for further visual studies of news coverage particularly in terms of racialized depictions of perpetrators of sexual assault.

framing, frames, visual framing, news coverage, Brock Turner, Cory Batey, sexual assault, race, athlete, media

Advisor

Singh, Rohini

Department

Communication

Disciplines

Critical and Cultural Studies | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Mass Communication | Speech and Rhetorical Studies

Keywords

framing, frames, visual framing, news coverage, Brock Turner, Cory Batey, sexual assault, race, athlete, media

Publication Date

2018

Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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