Title page for ETD etd-04072009-114852

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Mislan, Cristina
Author's Email Address cmisla1@tigers.lsu.edu, cmislan@gmail.com
URN etd-04072009-114852
Title The Black Press as a Political Institution: How the Chicago Defender Portrayed Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama's Historical Presidential Campaigns
Degree Master of Mass Communication (M.M.C.)
Department Mass Communication
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Broussard, Jinx C. Committee Chair
Garay, Ronald Committee Member
Lawrence, Regina Committee Member
  • black elevation
  • political messages
  • minority presidential candidates
Date of Defense 2009-03-16
Availability unrestricted
Since the inception of Freedom’s Journal in 1827, the black press has sought to elevate the black community as well as advocate for civil rights and justice. This thesis examines news coverage in the Chicago Defender, a prominent black newspaper that has created a public sphere for the black community. Specifically, this research reveals whether the newspaper framed Reverend Jesse Jackson’s 1988 campaign differently from President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. Furthermore, this thesis sought to reveal how a well-known black newspaper provided meaning for its readers about two black presidential candidates who adopted disparate political messages in order to appeal to American citizens. The thesis utilizes framing theory in order to understand how the newspaper covered Reverend Jackson and Senator Obama, and it employed a qualitative analysis methodology. Discourse analysis—a method that falls under qualitative research—was employed in order to examine words, sentences, phrases and tone. The findings illustrate that the Defender attempted to support and elevate Reverend Jackson, but showed skepticism about his ability to win the Democratic presidential nomination. On the contrary, the newspaper overwhelmingly supported Senator Obama, using his candidacy to elevate the black community.
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