Beyond Deadlines and Head Counts: A Rhetorical Analysis of Headlines and Photojournalism in the 2004 Presidential Election Coverage of The (Raleigh) News & Observer

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dc.contributor.advisor Catherine A. Warren, Committee Chair en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Carolyn R. Miller, Committee Member en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Robert C. Kochersberger, Committee Member en_US Moriarity, Michelle en_US 2010-04-02T18:05:03Z 2010-04-02T18:05:03Z 2005-05-10 en_US
dc.identifier.other etd-05092005-165623 en_US
dc.description.abstract Print journalists perpetually struggle with allegations of bias. As with all media, newspapers are under public scrutiny for their representations of news events — and this scrutiny intensifies during election cycles. Scholarship devoted to news coverage of political issues and events has examined ways in which the media fail to cover politics in a way that is fair and adequately reflects of the news of the day. These analyses, however, dominantly focus on news stories and on coverage as a whole — that is, the entire newspaper instead of the individual components that help make up the news product. According to a 1991 study by Poynter Institute fellows Mario Garcia and Pegie Stark, photos and headlines are the elements of newspaper coverage that readers are most likely to process. If this is the case, then existing analyses may miss the mark in terms of audience perception. Some professional and academic criticism addresses meaning in news photography and headlines, but no research has addressed both, in depth, as tandem creators of meaning in the news product. Rhetorical criticism offers an analytical avenue for the study of meaning in headlines and photographs. Rhetorical scholarship in the latter half of the 20th century has begun to explore the potential for studying visual and verbal representation of public affairs. Scholar Michael Osborn has addressed both visual depiction and the use of metaphors (a common rhetorical device in headlines) in political discourse in a way that translates to a variety of media and offers a series of analytical questions for the study of news headlines and photographs. I argue that Osborn's theories of rhetorical depiction and of metaphor offer a framework for analysis that enables critics to move beyond the label of 'bias' and examine in-depth the range of meanings that emerges in news headlines and photographs — thus offering richer explanations to journalists of how readers may perceive the news product. I put Osborn's analytical approaches to the test with 2004 election coverage from The (Raleigh) News & Observer, a publication that embodies the challenges that newspapers face during election-time. By studying language in headlines and composition of photos according to Osborn's frameworks, I found that The N&O presented a variety of meanings that were at times conflicting, confusing, and counterproductive to journalistic values of fairness and balance. Despite journalists' best efforts, their work suffered, perhaps, because they did not have the opportunity for deliberation over the choices they made in terms of the potential for meaning; additionally, they did not exhibit the kind of rhetorical consciousness that could enable them to more easily and thoroughly scrutinize their work as they do it. Ultimately, I argue that a broad foundation in rhetoric could help journalists do their job in a way that accounts more fully for potential audience responses and thus could begin to combat the pervasive allegations of bias that have come to define the public response to journalism. en_US
dc.rights I hereby certify that, if appropriate, I have obtained and attached hereto a written permission statement from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis, dissertation, or project report, allowing distribution as specified below. I certify that the version I submitted is the same as that approved by my advisory committee. I hereby grant to NC State University or its agents the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible, under the conditions specified below, my thesis, dissertation, or project report in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis, dissertation or project report. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis, dissertation, or project report. en_US
dc.subject journalism en_US
dc.subject newspapers en_US
dc.subject headlines en_US
dc.subject photographs en_US
dc.subject photojournalism en_US
dc.subject metaphor en_US
dc.subject visual rhetoric en_US
dc.title Beyond Deadlines and Head Counts: A Rhetorical Analysis of Headlines and Photojournalism in the 2004 Presidential Election Coverage of The (Raleigh) News & Observer en_US MA en_US thesis en_US English en_US

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