"Racism lives here" : racial ideologies in local news media coverage of student university protests
During fall of 2015, a group of students at the University of Missouri called Concerned Student 1950 protested racial inequity on campus. Their collective action led to structural shakeups in the university's leadership. News about the protests were broadcast to a national and even international audience, but started with coverage by local media organizations in Columbia, Missouri. This qualitative research examines local media coverage of the Concerned Student 1950 protests using a textual analysis to uncover ideologies of race. Local coverage from a three-month period in 2015 was examined from the following outlets: KBIA, a Mid-Missouri NPR affiliate; KOMU, an NBC affiliate; and the Columbia Missourian, a print and digital newspaper. This research argues that while local news outlets have moved away from simplistic constructions of whiteness as good and blackness as bad, their coverage still reinforces these characterizations. This study illuminates the discursive elements that constructed protesters as deviant and resistant, while university leaders were constructed as normal and compliant. Ultimately, this research provides a possible template for local journalists to improve the equity and balance of their coverage of social movements.