Collective action and news report framing
Low, Walter Steven
MetadataShow full item record
This study investigated the relationship between anti-drunk driving organizations, led by Mothers Against Drunk Driving and journalists who covered the drunk driving issue. A content analysis of five national news organizations (New York Times, Washington Post, ABC News, CBS News, and NBC News) covering both the pre-MADD (1969 to 1980) and the MADD-era (1981-1990) examined the news reports produced by those news organizations that addressed the drunk driving issue. Specifically, the content analysis looked at frequency of reporting, primary theme of those reports, how the drunk driving issue was framed, how those reports covered “media events,” and the use of MADD-related terms and phrases. A series of interviews were conducted with reporters whose work products were included in the content analysis. Those interviews were used to examine how those reporters felt about MADD, drunk driving, and their coverage of the drunk driving issue. The results of the content analysis indicated that there was a significant increase in reporting about the drunk driving issue from 1981 to 1990. The content analysis also showed that the framing of the drunk driver by reporters did to some extent become more deviant and that print journalists focused more on media events during the MADD-era. MADD was only partly successful in having journalists adopt their jargon and viewpoint to present the drunk driving issue to the public. During the interviews, reporters stated that the drunk driving story presented by MADD was very attractive to journalists and therefore more likely to be included in the final news product.