Consistent research highlighting their utility for documenting historical protest events find social movement scholars relying heavily on newspapers. Simultaneously, research consistently finds racial bias in the media. Together, these findings suggest that scholars’ reliance on mainstream media accounts of protest by minority groups could lead to inaccurate histories and explanations. This chapter compares reports of a six-year-long protest case featuring African American activists found in both a mainstream media source, the New York Times, and two New York-based African American newspapers, the New York Amsterdam News and the New York Age, which were then triangulated with data from archival manuscript collections. Doing so revealed considerable and important differences. The ethnic press reported more protest events than the New York Times, which contained descriptive bias reflecting existing racial stereotypes and effectively silenced activists. These findings suggest that social movement scholars focusing on minority activists should engage in both ethnic and mainstream press accounts of protest events and political activity to ensure accurate descriptions of events and activist sentiments.
Weiner, M. (2010), "All the news that's fit to print? Silence and voice in mainstream and ethnic press accounts of African American protest", Coy, P. (Ed.) Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change (Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Vol. 31), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 297-324. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0163-786X(2011)0000031012Download as .RIS
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