Semester of Graduation

Spring 2018

Degree

Master of Mass Communication (MMC)

Department

Mass Communication

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The few research studies that explore the media’s coverage of female and or minority candidates have primarily been limited to mix gender elections. Not much attention has been given to what coverage of elections featuring all female candidates looks like. Do atypical candidates lead to atypical coverage? To expand this area of research, this study examines local newspaper’s coverage in mayoral runoff elections. This study’s exploration of how the media portrays candidates running in all female races relies on a content analysis of the two cities examined primary newspapers. The findings from this study are varied and complex. The findings reveal moderate support for the idea that news coverage of elections featuring two female candidates is different from the norm. The results indicate that women running for office still face a clear disadvantage in terms of securing balanced trait and issue coverage. Results also indicated that contrary to what was expected, in elections featuring two women of the same race/ethnic background, even two minority women, mentions of the candidates and or potential voters race are not as prevalent. Understanding how journalists cover female candidates is timely and essential if we are to ensure female candidates are covered accurately and objectively By studying the media’s coverage of all female runoff elections, this study provides an understanding about how female candidates are framed when there is not a White male candidate in the election.

Date

4-5-2018

Committee Chair

Dr. Joshua Darr

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