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Theses and Dissertations

Name:Jason Edward Miller
Degree:Ph.D.
Professor:Elizabeth Bird
Year:2016
Title:The Construction of Latino Im/migrant Families in U.S. News Media: Parents’ Responses and Self-representations
  
Abstract:

Latino im/migrants are often portrayed in negative and stereotypical ways in mainstream U.S. media. This dissertation utilizes Ethnographic Content Analysis to analyze news segments about Latino im/migrants from Fox News, MSNBC and Univisión between 2010 and 2012 and digital storytelling with a group of Latino im/migrant parents in central Florida.
First, I questioned if a Spanish-language news media source constructed Latino im/migrant family-focused stories differently than mainstream English-language sources. Utilizing Critical Race Theory as a theoretical lens, I conclude that English and Spanish language news stations portray Latino im/migrants in different ways. Fox News portrays Latino im/migrants in a generally neutral or negative tone, MSNBC offers a generally neutral or positive tone, and Univisión offers a generally positive tone. Moreover, Fox News generally frames Latino im/migrants as a “problem to be solved” with the implied solution almost always being deportation or exclusion. Univisión generally framed the global, neoliberal, capitalist system that creates the need for mass migration as the “problem” and identified activism and social change as the “solution.” These analyses are supported with evidence from stock video footage from segments that often dehumanizes im/migrants as well as use of rhetoric during segments (namely phrases like “illegal” and “anchor baby”)
Second, I questioned if, when offered the opportunity to represent themselves, would Latino im/migrant parents construct images of parenthood that both acknowledge and transcend the mainstream news media discourse? I conclude that the digital stories Latino im/migrant parents created in 2009 represent a broader, fuller picture of Latino im/migrant parenthood and that these stories rely more heavily on lived, narrative experience even after considering the change in format from news segment to digital story. Digital stories provide an effective vehicle for conducting participant observation and ethnography. Moreover, I argue that digital storytelling has the potential to be effective in increasing voice and building capacity for positive social change.