Date of Award
Hurricane Maria emphasized the need for journalism. It also demonstrated potential biases present in journalism. At the time that Hurricane Maria made landfall in 2017, I had worked as News Editor for my school's newspaper and interned at a business newspaper in Puerto Rico. The one thing consistently reiterated over and over again? "Objective reporting." Nationally, there is a lot of conversation of what counts as "fake news," a term made infamous by President Donald Trump. The implication in that conversation is that "good media" is unbiased media and therefore any media outlet that has bias is disregarded as "fake news." This form of thinking reveals that what journalism wants all reporters to aspire to and all readers to expect is unbiased reporting. The biases journalists carry, especially when they are dangerously ignorant of such biases, influence the way they present information, impact the tone or tenor of a piece, and affect their word choice(s) (Feagin 2010, Ortega and Feagin 2013, Alamo-Pastrana and Hoynes 2018). Media, specifically news, has the ability to establish what is important; perhaps more importantly, the news media has the ability to advance racist stereotypes, which sustains power dynamics. The impact news media has on daily lives and their ability to influence perceptions of self and others is consistent: we read the news, we watch the news, the news is pushed to our phones, it invades social media. This space, one that engages with unacknowledged biases also creates an overabundance of news, while silencing and erasing the voices of those who are marginalized. I situate my thesis in this space, one of hyper-visibility and invisibility, of cacophony and silence. This project interrogates journalistic frames and narratives that explicitly and implicitly engage racialization and racist frames. A central goal is to illuminate the effects of such discourse and to theorize its affects and effects on the idea of Puerto Rico and its citizens.
Silveira, María Manuela Méndez Da, "In the Eye of the Colonizer: The White Racial Frame of Media Coverage on Hurricane Maria" (2019). Student research. 119.