Citizen Framing of #Ferguson on Twitter

Mia Moody-Ramirez, Gabriel B. Tait, Ceeon Smith, Lillie Fears, Brenda Randle

Abstract


This textual analysis examined the framing of Ferguson, Missouri, that emerged following Michael Brown’s death in 2014. The analysis indicates tweets focused on the protests that followed and the racial nature of the incident. The most salient themes characterized Ferguson within the context of “bigger picture” issues, “otherness” narratives and “protest” frames. Many tweets transmitted a racialized tone, characterizing Ferguson as a “less than desirable town with mostly Black residents and low-life thugs.” This study provides support for the use of textual analysis in studies of social media platforms and indicates it is imperative to look at representations of race, power and cultural narratives in popular mass media messages. 


Keywords


Michael Brown, #Ferguson, critical race theory, tweets, user-generated content, framing and #blacklivesmatter.

Full Text:

PDF

References


Al-Rawi, A. K. (2014). The Arab Spring and online protests in Iraq. International Journal of Communication, 8, 916–942. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.baylor.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ufh&AN=97253160&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Ampofo, L., Anstead, N. & O’Loughlin, B. (2011). Trust, confidence, credibility: Citizen responses on Twitter to opinion polls during the 2010 UK general election. Information, Communication and Society, (14), 850-71.

Anderson, M., & Caumont, A. (2014). How social media is reshaping news. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/09/24/how-social-media-is-reshaping-news/

Bennett, W., & Edelman, M. (1985). Toward a new political narrative. Journal of Communication, 35(4),156-171.

Boettcher III, W. A. (2004). The prospects for prospect theory: An empirical evaluation of international relations applications of framing and loss aversion. Political Psychology, 25(3), 331-362.

Bonilla, Y. & Silva, B. (2006). Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.

Bonilla, Y., & Rosa, J. (2015). #Ferguson: digital protest, hashtag ethnography, and the racial politics of social media in the United States. American Ethnologist, 42(1), 4. http://doi.org/10.1111/amet.12112

Bowen, S. (2015). A framing analysis of media coverage of the Rodney King incident and Ferguson, Missouri, conflicts. The Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications, 6(1), 114-124.

Brock, A. (2012). From the blackhand side: Twitter as a cultural conversation. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 56(4), 529–549.

Broersma, M., & Graham, T. (2013). Twitter as a news source. Journalism Practice, 7(4), 446-464. doi:10.1080/17512786.2013.802481.

Brunken, L. (2006). Hurricane Katrina: A Content Analysis of Media Framing, Attribute Agenda Setting, and Tone of Government Response. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.

Brunsma, D. L., Overfelt, D., & Picou, J. S. (2010). The Sociology of Katrina: Perspectives on a Modern Catastrophe. Rowman & Littlefield.

Burleson, C. (2004). Herbert J. Gans’ ‘enduring values,’ decades down the road: A Comparative study of the James Byrd Jr. murder. Journal of American Studies Association of Texas. pp. 53-78.

Cabalin, C. (2014). Online and Mobilized Students: The Use of Facebook in the Chilean Student Protests. Communicar, 22(43), 25–33. http://doi.org/10.3916/C43-2014-02

Campbell, K. & Wiggins, E. L. (2014). Walking a tightrope: Obama's duality as framed by selected African American columnist. Journalism Practice, 9(2), 184-199. doi:10.1080/17512786.2014.916486.

Carragee, M., & Roefs, W. (2004). The neglect of power in recent framing research. Journal of Communication, 54, 214–233.

Collier, K. (2014, Aug. 19). Missouri cop’s racist Michael Brown Facebook posts trigger investigation. The Daily Dot. Retrieved from http://www.dailydot.com/news/missouri-cop-michael-brown-ferguson-marc-catron/.

Coy, P. (2014, Aug. 21). Injustice in Ferguson, Long Before Michael Brown. Bloomberg Business. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2014-08-21/ferguson-economic-political-conditions-fuel-protest-fury.

Doreen, J. (2015). #Ferguson: the Grand Jury’s decision on Twitter. Retrieved February 28, 2016, from http://srogers.cartodb.com/viz/64f6c0f4-745d-11e4-b4e1-0e4fddd5de28/embed_map.

Duggan, M. (2015, August 19). The Demographics of Social Media Users. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/08/19/the-demographics-of-social-media-users/

Durham, M. G. (2013). Vicious assault shakes Texas town. Journalism Studies, 14(1), 1–12.

Entman, R. (1992). African Americans in the news: Television, modern racism and cultural change. Journalism Quarterly, 69(2), 341-361.

Entman, R. M. (1993). Framing: Toward Clarification of a Fractured Paradigm. Journal of Communication, 43(4), 51-58. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.1993.tb01304.x.

Entman, R. M., & Rojecki, A. (2000). The black image in the white mind: Media and race in American. Chicago: University of Chicago.

Florini, S. (2014). Tweets, Tweeps, and Signifyin;’ Communication and Cultural Performance on “Black Twitter.” Television & New Media, 15(3), 223-237.

Gamson, W. & Modigliani, A. (1987). The changing culture of affirmative action. In Braungart, R. G. & Braungart, M. M. (Eds.), Research in Political Sociology, (Vol. 3, pp. 137-177). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Gitlin, T. (1980). The Whole World is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Hall, S. (1980). Encoding/decoding. In S. Hall (Ed.), Culture, Media, Language: Working Papers in Cultural Studies, 1972-79 (pp. 128-38). London: Hutchinson.

Hall, S. (1997). Representation: Cultural representations and signifying practices. London: Sage Publications.

Harlow, S. (2013). It was a “Facebook revolution:” Exploring the meme-like spread of narratives during the Egyptian protests, Revista de Comunicacion 12, 59–82.

Hitlin, P., & Comments, N. V. (2014). Cable, Twitter picked up Ferguson story at a similar clip. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/08/20/cable-twitter-picked-up-ferguson-story-at-a-similar-clip/

Howard, P. N., & Parks, M. R. (2012). Social media and political change: Capacity, constraint, and consequence. Journal of Communication, 62, 359–362. doi:10.1111/j.1460-2466.2012.01626.x

Huston, W. (2014, Dec. 24). Attorney: ISIS Using Twitter to Recruit Ferguson Protesters. Breitbart. Retrieved from http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2014/12/24/attorney-isis-using-twitter-to-recruit-ferguson-protesters/

Hutchins, B. (2011). The acceleration of media sport culture. Information, Communication & Society, 14(2), 237-257

Jacobs, J. (2011). The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York, NY: Vintage Books.

Kent, M. L., & Taylor, M. (2010). Anticipatory socialization in the use of social media in public relations: A content analysis of PRSA's Public Relations Tactics. Public Relations Review, 36(3), 207-214.

Lasswell, J., Toven, B. & Aeaker, A. (1998). Jonesboro: The Framing of a Tragedy. Willamette University Media Framing Class. Accessed at http://www.willamette.edu/~ccollins/framing/aeaker/ourpage.htm

McIntyre, C. (2014). 35 Women You Should Follow on Twitter for #Ferguson News. Styleite. Retrieved from http://www.styleite.com/news/35-women-you-should-follow-for-ferguson-news/.

Media Insight Project, P. 03/17/14 3:00. (2014, March 17). The Personal News Cycle: How Americans choose to get news. Retrieved from https://www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/reports/survey-research/personal-news-cycle/

Menzie, N. (2014, Aug. 14). Christians Express Hurt, Shock, Words of Hope and Faith Amid Protests Over #MikeBrown Killing in #Ferguson. The Christian Post. Retrieved from http://www.christianpost.com/news/christians-express-hurt-shock-words-of-hope-and-faith-amid-protests-over-mikebrown-killing-in-ferguson-124829/

Messner, M. & Solomon, S. (1993). Outside the frame: Newspaper coverage of the Sugar Ray Leonard Wife abuse story. Sociology of Sport Journal,(10), 119-134.

Miladi, N. (2011). New media and the Arab revolution: Citizen reporters and social activism. Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research, 4(2&3), 113–119. doi:10.1386/jammr.4.2-3.113_2.

Miles, M. & Huberman, A. (1984). Drawing valid meaning from qualitative data: Toward a shared craft. Educational Researcher, 13, 20–30.

Morris, C. (2015). Where It Hurts: 2014 Year in Review. American Anthropologist, 117(3), 540-552.

Nal, R. (2015). War zone: Media in town where black teen was shot told to leave or face arrest. Liberty Unyielding. Retrieved from http://libertyunyielding.com/2014/08/12/warzone-media-in-ferguson-asked-to-leave-or-face-arrest/

National Trends. (2016). Retrieved December 22, 2016, from http://mappingpoliceviolence.org/nationaltrends/

Nielsen, R. K., & Schrøder, K.C. (2014). The Relative Importance of Social Media for Accessing, Finding, and Engaging with News. Digital Journalism, 1–18.

Nielsen, R. K., & Vaccari, C. (2013). Do People “Like” Politicians on Facebook? Not Really. Large-Scale Direct Candidate-to-Voter Online Communication as an Outlier Phenomenon. International Journal of Communication, 7, 24.

Page, C. (2015). A fake black woman’s “passing” fancy. Caribbean Business, 43(24), 19–19.

Perrin, A., & Duggan, M. (2015, June 26). Americans’ Internet Access: 2000-2015. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/06/26/americans-internet-access-2000-2015/

Poell, T. (2014). Social media and the transformation of activist communication: exploring the social information. Communication & Society, 17(6), 716 – 731

Police killed more than 100 unarmed black people in 2015. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2016, from http://mappingpoliceviolence.org/unarmed/

Quiah, P. (2015, Jan. 25). Media Framing of Ferguson. Humphrey Fellows at Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Retrieved from http://cronkitehhh.jmc.asu.edu/blog/2015/01/media-framing-ferguson/

Reese, S. D., & Lewis, S. (2009). Framing the War on Terror. Journalism, 10(6), 777-797.

Rodríguez, H. & Dynes, R. (2006, June 11). Finding and Framing Katrina: The Social Construction of Disaster. Social Science Research Council. Retrieved from http://understandingkatrina.ssrc.org/Dynes_Rodriguez/.

Rothman, N. (2014). print page. Commentary. Retrieved from https://www.commentarymagazine.com/print-page/

Schneider, A. (2007). Politically correct stereotyping: The case of Texans. International Journal of Contemporary Sociology, 44(2),84-101.

Section, U. N. N. S. (2014, Dec. 5). UN News - Eric Garner, Michael Brown cases spark “legitimate concerns” about US policing – UN experts. UN News Centre. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49522#.VonqMJOAOko

Smith, G. W. (2015). Blood Cries Out from the Ground: Reflections on Ferguson. Anglican Theological Review, 97(2), 255.

Sousa, A., & Ivanova, A. (2012). Constructing Digital Rhetorical Spaces in Twitter: A Case-Study of @BarackObama. Topics in Linguistics, (9), 46-55.

Taylor, M., Kent, M. L., & White, W. J. (2001). How activist organizations are using the Internet to build relationships. Public Relations Review, 27, 263–284.

U.S. Census Bureau: State and County QuickFacts. (2015, October 14). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/29/2923986.html.

Valasek, A. (2015). This #YearOnTwitter. Retrieved February 28, 2016, from https://blog.twitter.com/2015/this-yearontwitter

Van Dijk, T. A. (1993). Elite discourse and racism. Newbury Park: Sage Publications, Inc.

Watkins, C. (2001). Framing protest: News media frames of the Million Man March. Critical Studies in Media Communication,18(1) 83-101.

Wessinger, C. (2009). Deaths in the Fire at the Branch Davidians’ Mount Carmel: Who Bears Responsibility? Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, 13(2), 25-60.

Williams, S. (2015, July 6). The Power of Black Twitter. Retrieved January 4, 2016, from http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/07/06/the-power-of-black-twitter.html


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


The Journal of Social Media in Society is published by the Texas Social Media Research Institute, based at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas.