Historical Drifts Without Paradigm Shifts: A Historical Analysis of Newspaper Coverage of Social Protest
Unformatted Document Text:
Protest Coverage in Wisconsin Newspapers 1960-1999 -16-
1980s and 1990s, more than 80% of the protest stories were carried by urban newspapers, while
the 1970s registered a slight increase (34.5%) in rural newspapers’ protest coverage (Table 2).
RQ3. What differences between rural and urban Wisconsin newspapers are seen in their
coverage of protests based on the location of the actual protest itself?
Chi-square and layered crosstabs tests showed that overall almost three-quarters of the
protests covered by both urban and rural newspapers occurred in urban areas, with 43.7% in
Madison and 30.3% in Milwaukee for urban newspapers and 46.8% in Madison and 23.4% in
Milwaukee for rural newspapers (X
=4.100, df = 9, p= .000; see table 3). Interesting differences
are revealed between decades. In the case of urban newspapers, the majority of 1960s protests
occurred in Milwaukee (44.4%) and Madison (36.4%), while in the 1970s, a high majority of the
protests (73.7%) were located in rural areas. The 1980s saw Madison as the hotbed of protests
with 90.2% of the protests covered located in this urban area. In the 1990s, while Madison still
registered as the location for a large proportion (40.0%) of the protests, rural areas accounted for
a significant percentage (34.0%) of the protests as well. In the instance of rural newspapers,
throughout each decade there is a pattern of coverage of protests occurring in Madison and
Milwaukee (50% or more for each decade). Rural areas were a strong runner up in the 1970s
(40.0%), while in the 1980s half of the protests occurred in rural areas (50.0%). In the 1990s,
coverage of rural areas equaled that of the Milwaukee area (16.7%).
RQ4. From an analysis of Wisconsin newspapers’ coverage of protests over the years,
who are the different players presented as the targets of various social movements?
Crosstabs and chi-square tests (Table 4) revealed overall that for a majority (40.5%) of
the protests across all decades, government (local, state or federal) was the chief target, with
labor being the other significant target (24.1%) of protests (X
=108.439, df = 24, p= .000). In the