Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Kenneth Killebrew, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Larry Leslie, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Humphrey Regis, Ph.D.


Print media, South America, Piqueteros, Social protests, Foreign debt, Recession


During the years 2000-2002, the Republic of Argentina experienced one of the most, if not the most, devastating social/political/economic crises ever seen. President Fernando de la Rua, elected in 1999, was forced to resign on December 20, 2001, after several months of protests, public demonstrations, and a colossal economic recession. This unprecedented event in the history of the country created a state of chaos and confusion in a frantic population desperately searching for answers.

During the crisis, the media played a vital role in providing the public their daily updates. This study analyzed the newspapers’ role during the crisis using the agenda-setting theory as the research foundation. Dearing and Rogers (1996) write “the media’s agenda sets the public’s agenda, the key element in the agenda setting process being the degree of issue salience.” In this particular study, the Argentine crisis during 2000 to 2002 caused such disarray that there were a succession of issues that could have been the lead in the media’s priorities.

This study analyzed two issues: political and economic. In addition, it analyzed the positive and negative attributes of those two issues. The researcher vmeasured the front-page political and economic stories of the three major newspapers from January 2000 to December 2002.

This study’s main goal was to determine Argentine newspapers’ position during the crisis and aimed at answering two main questions: Did or did not the newspaper support the transition from one government to the next? If they did or did not support the transition, how did they report it to the public?

The study concluded that the three newspapers supported the government changeover. During the years 2000 and 2001, the newspapers showed a steady increase in their negative economic and political coverage until President De la Rua’s resignation. Once President De la Rua resigned in December 2001 and the opposition party took control of the government, the newspapers negative economic and political coverage rapidly decreased. Thus, this study concluded agenda-setting took place during the Argentine crisis and that the three newspapers supported the government transition.