Graduation Year

2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Sociology

Major Professor

Michael Kleiman, Ph.D.

Keywords

Social cohesion, Alternative functions, Media-audience relationship, News providers, New Orleans, Natural disasters

Abstract

Media is used by audiences for more than its simple role as information provider. Audiences have been found to use news providers output in a multitude of ways. It has been found that some audience members have used such output as a way to gain social capital that aids in the generation of feelings of social cohesion with their community. This has been found to be especially true during the impact phase of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane (Perez-Lugo, 2004). Unfortunately what news providers specifically articulate that might have this latent use by audiences has not been studied as much as would be necessary for a concrete understanding of the topic that would aid other news providers in designing output during future disasters. As such, here this paper will explore what the content of the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper articulated during the impact phase of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans that had the potential to serve this latent function for its readers.

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