From #BlackLivesMatter to #Ayotzinapa: Rethinking Domestic and Foreign Protest News Coverage on Social Media



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Research suggests news media negatively portray protests that challenge the status quo—a pattern known as the protest paradigm. Such de-legitimizing coverage has been shown to turn the public against protesters and their causes. Most research, however, neglects the external and internal factors that influence journalists’ coverage, especially in this digital era. In Professor Summer Harlow’s talk she will answer research questions examining how social media users’ sharing of protest news amplifies certain narratives that marginalize some protests and legitimize others. Using a quantitative analysis of “big” data based on social media sharing of news coverage of protests throughout the U.S. and Latin America, as well as qualitative interviews with journalists and activists, Professor Harlow will reconsider the applicability of the paradigm in a digital media landscape, and connect the paradigm to a broader critique of media, protest, and power, suggesting a hierarchy of social struggle with practical and theoretical implications.



protest, #BlackLivesMatter, protest paradigm, news media coverage, social media