Portrayals of Violence and Group Difference in Newspaper Photographs


Jessica Fishman (Ph.D. 2001) and Professor Carolyn Marvin are co-authors of "Portrayals of Violence and Group Difference in Newspaper Photographs: Nationalism and Media" in the current issue of Journal of Communication (March 2003, Volume 53, Number 1). The authors analyze group membership of violent agents and types of violence in front-page photographs from 21 years of The New York Times. Using a trimodal definition of media violence, they confirm the hypothesis that non-U.S. agents are represented as more explicitly violent than U.S. agents, and that the latter are associated with disguised modes of violence more often than the former. The recurring image of non-U.S. violence is that of order brutally ruptured or enforced. By contrast, images of U.S. violence are less alarming and suggest order without cruelty. The study shows how violent imagery is associated with in-group and out-group status.