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Historical Drifts Without Paradigm Shifts: A Historical Analysis of Newspaper Coverage of Social Protest
Unformatted Document Text:  Protest Coverage in Wisconsin Newspapers 1960-1999 -11- RQ5. Over four decades, what differences and/or similarities can be observed in the valence Wisconsin newspapers exhibited in their news stories about protest events? RQ6. What variations in prominence of coverage were accorded to protets over time in Wisconsin newspapers through the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s? Method The unit of analysis for this project was the protest article (N= 308). The time period of the sampling frame for this study was from 1960 to 1999, chosen to permit over time comparisons. Within that time frame, five newspapers were selected for this analysis: (a) the Wisconsin State Journal, (b) the Milwaukee Journal, (c) the Watertown Times, (d) the Sauk Prairie Star, and (e) the Park Falls Herald. These papers were chosen because they represent a range along three important dimensions: proximity to protest activity, community size, and publication frequency. First, the five papers represent a range in terms of distance to locations that provide regular protest activity, Milwaukee and Madison. Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, is a large metropolitan area with lots of industrial activity and several university campuses. Madison is the state capitol and home of the main campus of the University of Wisconsin. Further, it is important to note that the University campus in Madison is often noted as being a very active protest area. One paper was chosen from each of these two communities to represent newspapers that are close to areas with high levels of protest activity. The three other papers represent areas that are further removed from the larger cities in Wisconsin. Watertown is located roughly halfway between the two cities (42 miles from Madison and 53 miles from Milwaukee). The Sauk Prairie Star is published in Sauk City, 31 miles from Madison and 101 miles from

Authors: Devanathan, Narayan., Boyle, Michael., Shevy, Mark., McCluskey, Michael., Stein, Susan., Hillback, Elliott. and McLeod, Douglas.
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Protest Coverage in Wisconsin Newspapers 1960-1999 -11-
RQ5. Over four decades, what differences and/or similarities can be observed in the
valence Wisconsin newspapers exhibited in their news stories about protest events?
RQ6. What variations in prominence of coverage were accorded to protets over time in
Wisconsin newspapers through the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s?
Method
The unit of analysis for this project was the protest article (N= 308). The time period of
the sampling frame for this study was from 1960 to 1999, chosen to permit over time
comparisons. Within that time frame, five newspapers were selected for this analysis: (a) the
Wisconsin State Journal, (b) the Milwaukee Journal, (c) the Watertown Times, (d) the Sauk
Prairie Star, and (e) the Park Falls Herald. These papers were chosen because they represent a
range along three important dimensions: proximity to protest activity, community size, and
publication frequency.
First, the five papers represent a range in terms of distance to locations that provide
regular protest activity, Milwaukee and Madison. Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, is a
large metropolitan area with lots of industrial activity and several university campuses. Madison
is the state capitol and home of the main campus of the University of Wisconsin. Further, it is
important to note that the University campus in Madison is often noted as being a very active
protest area. One paper was chosen from each of these two communities to represent newspapers
that are close to areas with high levels of protest activity. The three other papers represent areas
that are further removed from the larger cities in Wisconsin. Watertown is located roughly
halfway between the two cities (42 miles from Madison and 53 miles from Milwaukee). The
Sauk Prairie Star is published in Sauk City, 31 miles from Madison and 101 miles from


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