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Darfur: Mass Media Framing of International Intervention, 2003-2007
Unformatted Document Text:  coverage of Darfur than was seen for television news. Led by a barrage of Op-Ed pieces by its correspondent Nicholas D. Kristof, some editorials and news stories, and especially letters-to- the-editor, The New York Times pushed what might be seen as an intervention agenda. Advocacy of intervention reached a high point early in 2006 when there was a major escalation of the conflict into Chad, pro-Darfur rallies were being held across the United States, and a peace agreement between the Darfur rebels and the Sudan government seemed within reach. At this point the paper’s editorial voice joined its premier columnist in advocating the need for more than talk to deal with the crisis (NYT, 2006, Feb. 22; NYT, 2006, Mar. 20). TABLE 4 NEW YORK TIMES COVERAGE OF DARFUR, BY TYPE OF CONTENT, BY YEAR (January through April) 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 TOTAL N=1 N=26 N=68 N=65 N=57 N=217 N % N % N % N % N % % Front Page News 0 0 1/ 1% 2/ 3% 2/ 4% 5/ 2% Inside Page News 8/ 31 28/ 41 19/ 29 26/ 46 81/ 37 “World News Briefs” 1/ 100% 4/ 15 12/ 18 10/ 15 5/ 4 32/ 15 Sub Total 1/ 100% 12/ 46% 40/ 59% 29/ 45% 31/ 54% 113/ 52% Editorials 0 0 0 5/ 8% 5/ 9% 10/ 5% Op-EdArticles 0 7/ 27% 8/ 12% 13/ 20% 9/ 16% 37/ 17% Letters 0 5/ 19% 18/ 26% 12/ 18% 8/ 14% 43/ 20% Other 0 2/ 8% 1/ 1% 4/ 6% 2/ 4% 9/ 4% Total 100% 100% 99% 100% 101% 100% Data in Table 4 tell us, however, that The New York Times mounted at best a partial attempt at mobilization of public opinion. The major indicator supporting this is that there was comparatively little front page coverage—a well-recognized signal of story importance. In contrast to the 2 percent seen for Darfur from 2003 through 2007, during the 1990s 21 percent of 21

Authors: Sidahmed, Abdel., Briggs, E.. and Soderlund, Walter.
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coverage of Darfur than was seen for television news. Led by a barrage of Op-Ed pieces by its
correspondent Nicholas D. Kristof, some editorials and news stories, and especially letters-to-
the-editor, The New York Times pushed what might be seen as an intervention agenda. Advocacy
of intervention reached a high point early in 2006 when there was a major escalation of the
conflict into Chad, pro-Darfur rallies were being held across the United States, and a peace
agreement between the Darfur rebels and the Sudan government seemed within reach. At this
point the paper’s editorial voice joined its premier columnist in advocating the need for more
than talk to deal with the crisis (NYT, 2006, Feb. 22; NYT, 2006, Mar. 20).
TABLE 4
NEW YORK TIMES COVERAGE OF DARFUR, BY TYPE OF CONTENT,
BY YEAR (January through April)
2003 2004 2005
2006 2007 TOTAL
N=1
N=26 N=68 N=65
N=57 N=217
N %
N % N % N % N % %
Front Page News
0
0
1/ 1% 2/ 3%
2/ 4% 5/ 2%
Inside Page News
8/ 31 28/ 41
19/ 29
26/ 46 81/ 37
“World News Briefs” 1/ 100% 4/ 15 12/ 18 10/ 15 5/ 4 32/ 15
Sub Total
1/ 100% 12/ 46% 40/ 59% 29/ 45%
31/ 54% 113/ 52%
Editorials
0
0
0
5/ 8% 5/ 9% 10/ 5%
Op-EdArticles
0
7/ 27% 8/ 12% 13/ 20%
9/ 16% 37/ 17%
Letters
0
5/ 19% 18/ 26% 12/ 18% 8/ 14% 43/ 20%
Other
0
2/ 8% 1/ 1% 4/ 6% 2/ 4% 9/ 4%
Total
100% 100% 99% 100% 101% 100%
Data in Table 4 tell us, however, that The New York Times mounted at best a partial
attempt at mobilization of public opinion. The major indicator supporting this is that there was
comparatively little front page coverage—a well-recognized signal of story importance. In
contrast
to the 2 percent seen for Darfur from 2003 through 2007, during the 1990s 21 percent of
21


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