Title page for ETD etd-05152009-105054

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Daniel, Emory Stephen
Author's Email Address esdaniel@vt.edu
URN etd-05152009-105054
Title A Game That Cannot Be Won: Media Framing of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Scandal
Degree Master of Arts
Department Communication Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Tedesco, John C. Committee Chair
Magee, Robert G. Committee Member
Waggenspack, Beth M. Committee Member
  • Rape
  • Lacrosse
  • Duke
  • Framing
  • Sports
Date of Defense 2010-05-04
Availability unrestricted
On March 13, 2006 in Durham, North Carolina, some of the Duke lacrosse players decided to throw a party. For this particular party, a group of Duke players decided to hire some strippers. Although the night started out harmless enough, the end result was two angry African American women leaving the house of 610 Buchanan Street to alleged sounds of insults and racial epithets. The police arrived a short time later to investigate the scene. Allegations of rape filled the air as one of the strippers indicated to Durham police that she had been raped. From there, implications of race, class, gender, and the university culture became prevalent and important topics for the media to cover. They covered the scandal extensively and made it a prevalent subject story matter from April 2006 to April 2007.

Utilizing a content analysis, this study coded for generic, macro and issue-specific frames used by six different newspapers that covered the Duke Lacrosse rape scandal finding some significant results. Additionally, this study employed frame and story valence, as well as frame substance, to further analyze the frames present in the newspapers provided. Furthermore, there appeared to be a significant similarity between the overall story valence and the news story type. Although the majority of frames used were found to be neutral, results found that there was still a great deal of negative media attention in the Duke Lacrosse rape scandal.

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