USF St. Petersburg campus Master's Theses (Graduate)

First Advisor

Paul Wang, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Monica Ancu, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Robert Dardenne, Ph.D.


University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Document Type


Date Available


Publication Date


Date Issued



This study explores the media’s framing of the Trayvon Martin shooting incident, as well as Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, the individuals involved. Grounded in framing theory this study uses a qualitative textual analysis to examine the employment of five identified news frames in the coverage of the shooting of Trayvon Martin: conflict, attribution of responsibility, human-interest, racial and legal. The analysis of articles from two television news websites, perceived conservative network and perceived liberal network revealed that there are both inconsistent and consistent ways in which the stories were framed. Although the presence of the frames in all the articles is similar, the usage of the frames is different: a different attribution of responsibility – attributed responsibility to Zimmerman less often than and attributed responsibility to Martin less often than also, a diference in using race – used the racial frame more often than, focusing a majority of the articles analyzed on race; and, finally, an inconsistency in using legal frame between the two sources.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Arts, Department of Journalism and Media Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

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