Framing protest in Missouri: framing protest on Missouri newspaper coverage of Concerned Student 1950 protest
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Research over the past 30 years has shown that mainstream news media have been biased against social movements through journalists' use of framing. This trend, called the protest paradigm, delegitimizes, marginalizes, and demonizes a protest through sources, issue-action depiction, and syntax. Using quantitative framing analysis, this research examined six Missouri newspapers' coverage of the Concerned Student 1950 protest that occurred at the University of Missouri to find whether newspapers followed the protest paradigm. Results showed that the overall framing was sympathetic toward the movement, thus not following the protest paradigm. The papers showed that racism exists on campus, the protests were justified and honorable, and the protesters spoke truthfully about their experiences as minority students. The alternative newspapers were extremely sympathetic toward the protesters, adhering to previous studies comparing mainstream and alternative media coverage of protests. Differences between local and state reporting were minimal. The coverage may have pursued more sympathetic frames toward Concerned Student 1950 protest because its demonstrations were not violent and because journalists may be more aware of the racial divides in society than in the past.