2005 Student Research Conference:
18th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Covering Campaign Finance: A Content Analysis of Articles, Editorials and Columns on the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002
Samuel P. Murphey*, Christina D. Collison, and Anthony J. Albrecht
Dr. Karon Speckman, Faculty Mentor

Although reporters and editors might strive for objectivity in writing the news, word choice, sources, phrasing and other structural elements can lend bias to the news report. Such elements constitute the journalistic concept of framing. This paper analyzes the framing of one recent political issue: the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, commonly known as the McCain-Feingold Act. Using content analysis methodology, we analyze the structure of 96 news articles, editorials, and individual columns from six regional and one national newspaper to understand how writers framed the issue. Our research shows that newspapers emphasized the legislative process frame more often than justification or issue frames. Further, the research shows that most newspaper coverage was of a reactionary rather than a proactive nature. The research findings prove that significant changes in newspaper coverage are needed to inform the public most effectively about legislative policy making.

Keywords: journalism, framing, campaign finance, content analysis, newspapers, McCain-Feingold

Topic(s):Communication

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 53-5
Location: VH 1304
Time: 4:45

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