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Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.
Previous studies have found that female visible minority journalists experience various forms of sexism and racism in Canadian newsrooms. This thesis combines Journalism Studies and Critical Race Theory (CRT) in order to build on previous research and examine the experiences of racialized female journalists working in urban Canadian mainstream newsrooms. Through seven semi-structured interviews, five main themes emerged, many of which reiterate previous findings: (1) The racialized female reporters challenge dominant positivist norms in journalism, like objectivity; (2) These reporters have had to tailor their news stories in ways that appeal to white, usually male, editors; (3) Many of the women have experienced racism in the form of microaggressions and tokenization in newsrooms; (4) The interviewees have spent significant time educating their white colleagues on the nuances of race issues; and (5) The subjects value mentorship and “informal networks of support” in order to help other women and people of colour succeed in journalism. In contrast to previous findings, the subjects voiced an emboldened attitude towards challenging racial hierarchies in journalism spheres. Additionally, all interviewees voiced their desire to see enhanced representation of women of colour and Indigenous women in Canadian media. Particular attention is paid to how sexism and racism operate simultaneously in the lives of these reporters.
This thesis focuses on Mohammed Nabbous, a Libyan citizen who produced widely circulated reports during the first month of the revolution which overthrew Muammar Gaddafi, after his over forty years in power. Nabbous’ work is a generative example of citizen journalism, and what Media Scholar Ethan Zuckerman terms bridge blogging. Nabbous was one of many contributors who overcame barriers to communication, including government blocks to Internet access to provide vital on-the-ground information to outside news agencies during the Libyan uprising. Though there are significant differences, what occurred in Libya can be situated and contextualized regionally as part of a series of revolutions in the Middle East in 2010-2011 – a period often referred to as “the Arab Spring.” Nabbous’ role as source and citizen journalist provides rich terrain in which to analyze emerging definitions of journalism and debates over the role of and need for foreign correspondents. Nabbous was killed while covering a firefight in Benghazi only one month into what became an eight month long civil war in Libya. In the week after his death, some of those who eulogized Nabbous on Twitter debated whether his contributions merited acknowledgement as works of journalism, and whether Nabbous had in fact been a journalist. This thesis analyzes 500 of the most widely distributed Twitter messages which eulogize Nabbous, and draws on the wider context of debates about professionalization, news media, changes to the news industry, and journalism ethics.
In the last twenty years, there has been extensive analysis of print and broadcast coverage of climate change, but few scholars have specifically examined the visual images presented with climate change coverage. As a prominent issue of public discourse, climate change has developed its own specific lexicon of cultural signifiers and visual idioms, including images of melting glaciers, polar animals, and a “burning” planet Earth. This project examines visual images associated with climate change coverage from several online (website) sources, including two Google image searches, three media outlet sites, and four non-governmental organization websites that generate literature or information about climate change for an international audience. By analyzing content, thematic elements, and rhetorical issues relating to the displayed images, this project attempts to develop a discussion of the significance of images used by online sources featuring climate change content. Images featuring “ice” and “fire” motifs are still popular, although other generalized, iconic imagery was also evident, depicting smokestacks, alternative energy projects, and extreme weather scenarios. In general, media outlets tended to feature more specific photographic content, while other organizations used more generalized content, often featuring images of de-populated “wild” landscapes that conform to Western cultural rhetoric associated with the natural world.