Protests on the Front Page: Media Salience, Institutional Dynamics, and Coverage of Collective Action in the New York Times, 1960-1995

Patrick Rafail, Edward T. Walker, John D. McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Past research has illuminated consistent patterns in the type of protests that receive media attention. Still, we know relatively little about the differential prominence editors assign to events deemed worthy of coverage. We argue that while media routines shape whether events are covered, mass media organizations, social institutions, and systemic changes are important factors in determinations of prominence. To examine patterns of prominence, this study analyzes the factors influencing page placement patterns of protests covered in the New York Times, 1960-1995. We find that (1) protests are less likely to appear prominently over time, but this effect is conditioned by the paper’s editorial and publishing regime; (2) regime effects were especially consequential for civil rights and peace protests; (3) effects of event size and violence weakened over time; and (4) events embedded within larger cycles of protest coverage during less constricted news cycles were more likely to be featured prominently.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-61
Number of pages29
JournalCommunication Research
Volume46
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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