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Storytelling techniques in protest reporting: A comparative analysis of narratives on the Ferguson unrest by AJE, BBCW and RT
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In a global media environment characterized by change and conflict, narratives are especially useful to understand how the media form and distribute shared understanding of how the world works and who the important actors are. As the borders between local and global politics are blurred in the digital media landscape, protesters are in increased rate turning their placards to global broadcasters’ cameras, especially when political movements such as the U.S.-based Black Lives Matter movement get international counterparts. The scholarship concerned with the framework through which the media report protests argue the protest paradigm offers useful variables for the study of protests, while problematizing the lack of research on global broadcasting media. Global broadcasters, International Relations scholars argue, need to be understood as resources of soft power that distribute strategic narratives, but they have yet to develop a methodology for how broadcasts can be empirically studied. With this research gap as a point of departure, the chosen case study is the unrest in Ferguson in August 2014. A quantitative mapping and a comparative narrative analysis focusing on the narrative structure were conducted on 16 days of news bulletins from Al Jazeera English, BBC World News and RT. The results show several differences in the reports, the first concerns the amount of attention that was given to Ferguson by each broadcaster, where RT gave almost twice the amount of attention as the other two broadcasters. Further differences were found in the sources each broadcaster used and how they used violence as an entry-point to what their narratives where about, which in the case of AJE was the effects violence has on a society; BBCW’s narrative was of a political issue of high importance that concerns people of color; whereas RT’s narrative was about the militarization of the U.S. police force. The results imply the global broadcasters offer distinctive narratives, which through different storytelling techniques convey different attitudes and morals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , p. 75
Keyword [en]
Strategic narrative, protest, Ferguson, protest paradigm, global media, Al Jazeera English, BBC World News, RT
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-149085OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-149085DiVA, id: diva2:1157393
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Available from: 2017-11-16 Created: 2017-11-15 Last updated: 2017-11-16Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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