Media attention is a matter of life and death for social movements

Date: 21 January 2014

Introduction: Ruud Wouters earns PhD with dissertation on how television news covers movements and protest

Media attention is a matter of life and death for social movements. Whether and how a movement is covered are crucial intermediary variables between protest action and protest impact. The research scrutinizes media attention for social movements and protest along three dimensions.

  • (1) Selection: which factors determine the newsworthiness of demonstrations?
  • (2) Description: are demonstrations covered foremost episodically (event-focus) or thematically (substantial claim-focus)? And which factors determine protest description?
  • (3) Reaction: do targets and third parties react to protest in the news? How do they react? Under which circumstances do they do so?

In order to answer these questions, two datasets are used. One dataset presents police archive data for the city of Brussels on protest events (N = 4.582; 2003-2010). A second dataset presents a detailed content analysis of the news reports of those demonstrations that succeeded in attracting the media spotlight. (N = 564, main public and commercial station).

Consult the complete PhD research

More information? Ruud Wouters