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From the 'Battle of Seattle' to the 'War on Terrorism' in The New York Times
Unformatted Document Text:  From the ‘Battle of Seattle’ to the ‘War on Terrorism’ 21 21 when riots do not occur. (And regardless of fairness, the qualities of such news coverage are very likely to orient audience perceptions of the movement.) Similarly, the high prominence and positive portrayals of the January 2002 World Economic Forum events in Manhattan imply that real-world factors influence the nature of protest reporting. The terrorist attacks on New York in September 2001 did not seem to taint the Times’ representations of the dissident activities taking place in that same city just four months later; rather, the characteristics of the actual events—low levels of violence, the presence of public figures, geographic proximity—were more salient features. The prominence of celebrities and other household names at the more recent protests (and a slew of concurrent social gatherings) probably signals the successful “mainstreaming” of the anti-globalization movement. On the other hand, that final New York time period also included a large, unglamorous and nonviolent protest in Washington, D.C., that received scant coverage in this elite newspaper. This suggests that the media may treat a new social movement as a fad, unless some real-world event or protest characteristic makes the movement freshly newsworthy. Future content analyses could shed more light on various aspects of the protest paradigm. First, the increased visibility of protest images in the New York Times over these three years indicates that a visual analysis of these photographs is needed. Such a study could answer such questions as whether violent and deviant images become more prevalent as the negative descriptions of member’s appearances declined in the texts studied here. Second, a qualitative look at the nature of each separate anti-globalization protest might determine which events were deemed front-page worthy and why. Third, a comparison of this elite newspaper’s coverage to other types of media coverage might cast light upon differences between, for example,

Authors: Rauch, Jennifer., Chitrapu, Sunitha., Evans, John., Mwesige, Peter., Paine, Christopher. and Eastman, Susan.
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From the ‘Battle of Seattle’ to the ‘War on Terrorism’ 21
21
when riots do not occur. (And regardless of fairness, the qualities of such news coverage are very
likely to orient audience perceptions of the movement.)
Similarly, the high prominence and positive portrayals of the January 2002 World
Economic Forum events in Manhattan imply that real-world factors influence the nature of
protest reporting. The terrorist attacks on New York in September 2001 did not seem to taint the
Times’ representations of the dissident activities taking place in that same city just four months
later; rather, the characteristics of the actual events—low levels of violence, the presence of
public figures, geographic proximity—were more salient features. The prominence of celebrities
and other household names at the more recent protests (and a slew of concurrent social
gatherings) probably signals the successful “mainstreaming” of the anti-globalization movement.
On the other hand, that final New York time period also included a large, unglamorous and
nonviolent protest in Washington, D.C., that received scant coverage in this elite newspaper.
This suggests that the media may treat a new social movement as a fad, unless some real-world
event or protest characteristic makes the movement freshly newsworthy.
Future content analyses could shed more light on various aspects of the protest paradigm.
First, the increased visibility of protest images in the New York Times over these three years
indicates that a visual analysis of these photographs is needed. Such a study could answer such
questions as whether violent and deviant images become more prevalent as the negative
descriptions of member’s appearances declined in the texts studied here. Second, a qualitative
look at the nature of each separate anti-globalization protest might determine which events were
deemed front-page worthy and why. Third, a comparison of this elite newspaper’s coverage to
other types of media coverage might cast light upon differences between, for example,


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