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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 -19- Content and Coverage No decade was close to the 1960s in terms of the number of protest stories that appeared in the sample.. This is consistent with popular notions about the prominence of the civil rights and student movements during this era A large number of stories from the student antiwar movement showed up in thesample, accounting for the high percentage of war protests found. This category of coverage is visible in the numerous stories that featured antiwar protests on the Madison campus of the University of Wisconsin, where there were also protests against the treatement of civil rights marchers in Alabama. From that point on, members of the 1960s protests diverged into the various social movements as described earlier. The dispersal of student protesters might explain the sharp drop in the number of protests after the 1960s. Along with the war protests, labor-related protests took up a sizeable percentage of the articles for the 1960s. The presence of sizable manufacturing companies in Milwaukee and other Northeastern Wisconsin locations produced frequent labor protests and strikes during the 1960s. Among the numerous stories that were covered in Wisconsin newspapers were those related to strikes and contract issue disputes on the part of labor unions with the management of automobile manufacturers, and a local meat processing plant in Milwaukee. Labor related protests continued to receive a bulk of the coverage through the 1970s as well. For instance, considerable coverage was given to newspaper strikes at the two main Madison area newspapers that continued for several months. More research should be done to account for the fluctuations in labor protests, especially since it emerged as the main topic of protests for the 1970s and rose again in the 1990s. An interesting link may be between the labor movement and rural areas (which are the site of some of the bigger manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin and therefore being home to some of the

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 -19-
Content and Coverage
No decade was close to the 1960s in terms of the number of protest stories that appeared
in the sample.. This is consistent with popular notions about the prominence of the civil rights
and student movements during this era A large number of stories from the student antiwar
movement showed up in thesample, accounting for the high percentage of war protests found.
This category of coverage is visible in the numerous stories that featured antiwar protests on the
Madison campus of the University of Wisconsin, where there were also protests against the
treatement of civil rights marchers in Alabama.
From that point on, members of the 1960s protests diverged into the various social
movements as described earlier. The dispersal of student protesters might explain the sharp drop
in the number of protests after the 1960s. Along with the war protests, labor-related protests took
up a sizeable percentage of the articles for the 1960s. The presence of sizable manufacturing
companies in Milwaukee and other Northeastern Wisconsin locations produced frequent labor
protests and strikes during the 1960s. Among the numerous stories that were covered in
Wisconsin newspapers were those related to strikes and contract issue disputes on the part of
labor unions with the management of automobile manufacturers, and a local meat processing
plant in Milwaukee. Labor related protests continued to receive a bulk of the coverage through
the 1970s as well. For instance, considerable coverage was given to newspaper strikes at the
two main Madison area newspapers that continued for several months.
More research should be done to account for the fluctuations in labor protests, especially
since it emerged as the main topic of protests for the 1970s and rose again in the 1990s. An
interesting link may be between the labor movement and rural areas (which are the site of some
of the bigger manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin and therefore being home to some of the


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