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Counternarratives by Alexandra Bell: Bias in the media

Resources supporting curricular integration of Alex Bell's Counternarratives installations, fall 2018

Bias in the media

Racial bias in the media has been discussed and researched for decades. The titles below are a handful of the many available. See the sidebar for subject headings and databases that address this topic.  

Books & articles

Race, Quarterbacks, and the Media: Testing the Rush Limbaugh Hypothesis.  By David Niven.
Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 35, No. 5 (May., 2005), pp. 684-694 (11 pages)

Researching racial bias

OBIS Subject Headings

African Americans -- Public opinion

African Americans -- Race identity

African Americans and mass media

African Americans in mass media

African Americans in popular culture

Mass media and race relations -- United States

Race in mass media

Racism in mass media

Questions to ask about front page news

Since front pages are often skimmed (rather than carefully read)  journalists carefully select headlines, images and layout to send a clear message.  In particular important stories are placed "above the fold" (the middle of the page) or within the first screen (for digital editions).  With this in mind, ask yourself the following questions next time you see a newspaper's front page:

1.  Headlines
Does the headline clarify the news story? Is it misleading? Confusing? 
Does the headline make sense? 

2.  Images
What images were selected? Are they placed near the related headline or somewhere else?
Do the images clarify or confuse the story? If the latter, what images would be more appropriate? 

3. Overall page layout
Do the headlines, pull quotes, and images clearly relate their respective news stories

4. Print vs. digital
Compare the print and digital editions of the same front page; are the headlines, images, pull quotes etc., the same or different?
If the latter, do changes clarify or confuse the news story?