The Watts riots : a contemporary study of the news coverage of the riots
The Watts riots happened in Los Angeles, California, in 1965. It was six days of looting and burning, 34 deaths, thousands of arrests, and $40,000,000 in damages. This research questioned how the black California press framed and covered the Watts riots, specifically looking into the Los Angeles Sentinel and Sacramento Observer's use of sources, terms used when describing the riots. After reading more than a hundred articles, I found that the Sentinel interviewed and quoted mostly community leaders and witnesses when covering the Watts riots, and the Observer used unidentified sources or official sources while reporting on the riots. The language used by authors and sources when referring to the Watts riots in the Los Angeles Sentinel and the Sacramento Observer changed in each edition of the newspaper. Editions sent to the printers closer to the end of the Watts riots were more likely to discuss the cause of the riots, where later editions in the timeframe I researched were more likely to discuss how to go about fixing the causes of Watts riots. Both newspapers made an attempt to stay neutral in most of their reporting of the Watts riots, but writers from both papers framed the riots more negatively than positively. Some articles had undiscernible frames as those articles contained either straight facts or did not have a set frame.