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Shifting perspectives: a study of US print media perceptions of the Russo-Chechen conflict before and after September 11, 2001

Hanlon, Bradley (2016) Shifting perspectives: a study of US print media perceptions of the Russo-Chechen conflict before and after September 11, 2001. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This work is a study of the changing nature of US print media coverage of the Russo-Chechen conflict before and after the attacks of September 11, 2001. More specifically, it analyzes three major print news publications–The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal–and their coverage of six separate alleged Chechen terrorist attacks on Russian soil, all of which were related to the Russo-Chechen conflict. The importance of this work rests in the power of language and rhetoric in the media and the way that this power can influence readers’ perceptions of external events. This study highlights the way in which the experience of September 11th influenced the US print media’s perception and presentation of Russian-Chechen conflicts. In analyzing the three newspapers, this author collected all relevant articles covering each event within a seven-day radius after the occurrence of the event. This author then used critical language analysis to determine specific and repetitive frames of representation that occurred within the coverage of each event, and compared the patterns of frames of representation presented by the newspapers before and after the attacks of September 11th. The shifting frames of representation within the coverage of the three newspapers indicate there was a significant change in interpretation of the Russo-Chechen conflict after the attacks of September 11th. While the newspapers’ coverage shifted by varying degrees, the post-9/11 reporting was characterized by an overall trend of more personal, less balanced, and less historically grounded reporting. As a result of this, readers of these three publications encountered a much different interpretation of the Russo-Chechen conflict in the post-9/11 era than had been the case prior to 9/11. Overall, this work contributes to a discussion of the bias within media coverage that occurs as the result of the personal experience and ideology of the editorial staff. This work is also a cautionary tale that highlights the need for a critical analysis in the consumption of authoritative media sources.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Hanlon, Bradleybrh74@pitt.eduBRH74
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorChase,
Committee MemberPeterson,
Committee MemberMalin,
Committee MemberRichard,
Date: 26 April 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 4 April 2016
Approval Date: 26 April 2016
Submission Date: 20 April 2016
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 153
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: chechnya, russia, terrorism, media, newspaper, wall street journal, washington post, new york times, 9/11, september 11, russo-chechen, media analysis, terrorist, beslan, dubrovka, shifting perspectives, hanlon, stephen ellis, print media, russo-chechen conflict, chechen war, media bias
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2016 13:38
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:33


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