Wild and Wonderful: How Both a Local and National Newspaper Framed West Virginia Leading Up to the 2016 Election
Date of Graduation
Reed College of Media
G. Robert Britten
During the 2016 Presidential election, journalists from all over the country flocked to West Virginia to try to understand the draw to then-candidate Donald Trump. There is a well-documented history of outsiders flooding the state and its surrounding Appalachian states to attempt to make sense of the current political situation, all while operating off of stereotypes and preconceived notions about the people of the Mountain State. This study aims to determine how stereotyping and the concept of framing or othering — when in-groups create out-groups — were used by a local West Virginia paper, as well as a national newspaper — and how their usage of those concepts compare and contrast — in coverage of the state leading up to the election.
To answer the research question of how the two newspapers differ in their coverage of West Virginia during the time frame of July 19, 2015-Nov. 9, 2016, 119 articles were collected — 100 from the Charleston Gazette-Mail and 19 from The New York Times — coded for emergent categories. The categories that were discovered after coding were ‘Coal Culture’ and ‘Suffering,’ each with multiple subcategories. When it came to coverage of ‘Coal Culture,’ the Times was more stereotypical in its coverage and relied more on optics, butthe Gazette-Mail focused more on the economical aspect of mining, not the optics. ‘Suffering’ was a more common theme in the Gazette-Mail than the Times, but neither paper relied on stereotypes more than the other.
Martin, Emily Grace, "Wild and Wonderful: How Both a Local and National Newspaper Framed West Virginia Leading Up to the 2016 Election" (2021). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8342.
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