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Respect of Victim Leads to Loss of Narrative

By Tonya B. Lewis

In the reviewing more than 50 news articles on the Steubenville rape case coverage in national and local media, a clear pattern seems to emerge–the loss of the victim’s narrative.

With the media’s policy of respecting rape victim’s privacy there comes an unforeseen consequence–the omittance of the victim’s story. What are her hopes, dreams and aspirations. Is she a good student that enjoys playing soccer? Is she a devoted mother, a doting aunt or a loving daughter?

The victim’s story is often overlooked while the details of her abuse is spread to national and in some cases, international audiences. The public is privy to her pain. Her rape becomes fodder for talk shows and pundits.  She is lambasted by critics who blame her for being raped.

Football Players Rape Charges

Protestors assemble in support of the Steubenville victim.

Even those that mean her well can do her harm. For instance, in the Steubenville rape case, members of Anonymous, a hacker collective, tried to hold the rapists accountable and published sensitive, unredacted documents that accidentally revealed the victim’s name to the world.

In the absence of the rape victim’s narrative, the story of her attackers becomes the lead. In the case of the Steubenville rape, the perpetrators were “star” football players with “promising futures.” Members of the media lamented the loss of the boy’s football career and their missed opportunities. (Check out ABC News’ story, Steubenville: After the Party’s Over.)

Trent Mays, Ma'lik Richmond

Trent Mays, 16, and Ma’lik Richmond, 17, at their defense trial for the rape of a 16-year-old girl.

This duality has revealed itself in the various articles I have analyzed for our Steubenville team research paper. Many of the news stories that mentioned the Steubenville rapists (they were convicted in juvenile court) also mentioned their athleticism and that they were star football players, big contributors to a powerhouse football program.  While that is not necessarily bad, it skews the story to one more focused on the rapists. The victim is reduced to–in this case–a “16-year-old girl,” the “Weirton, W. Va. girl”, a drunken “brunette.”I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the role of social media in this case. If it had not been for the teen’s who were involved in and were witnesses of the rape, there would have never been a case. It was the posting of images and videos on YouTube and Twitter that alerted the victim and law enforcement to the rape. It was the thousands of “profane and ugly” text messages volleyed between the rapists, victim, witnesses and schoolmates that created a detailed account of the events on the night of Aug. 11, 2012.  As the victim’s mother’s said to the defendants during trial, “You were your own accuser, through social media.”

More chargesThis is an age were teens share much of their lives  publically. Yes, I am still baffled as to why they felt it was acceptable to share such information online. Why was it okay to record, document and publish a girl’s rape? But, I’m glad they did, if not the rapists would have never been held accountable. And, the story isn’t over. Additional people could face charges in the case.

As we prepare to solidify our research findings, I realize the issue of rape in a small, Ohio town is more than an interesting story. These are real people who have been greatly affected by rape. Throughout the process of doing this paper, I have learned a great deal about what constitutes rape, what fair and balanced news coverage should look like and how to code (which is just as hard and time consuming as I initially thought). I am looking forward to presenting our research findings.

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Thoughts on Preliminary Findings

 

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The Steubenville Rape Case continues to fascinate me.  Each member of the class was assigned a form of media to study and code and for the team paper.  For my part, I covered CNN and NPR broadcast transcripts.  Though I couldn’t honestly say that coding was “fun,” it was interesting to actually read a transcript instead of listening to or watching it.  My goal was to find various frames utilized in these in these broadcasts and code them for the paper in order to gather a larger understanding of what was being said about the case.  At first, I thought that finding these frames would be a simple task.  However, it quickly became obvious that I was wrong.  I ended up marking almost every transcript as neutral.  Although some common themes were presented throughout the transcripts, it was obvious that CNN was extra careful not to come down on one side of the fence.  They would use phrases like “many believe” or “some say” in order to remove themselves from accusations of bias.  The majority of the articles were more sympathetic to the victim’s side of things.  This is probably because of how agencies came under fire when the story first broke for providing too much sympathy for the perpetrators.  In the NPR transcripts, I found much more depth.  Rather than simply reporting the latest happenings of the case, they provided detailed interviews with experts about the morality of the case as well as our surrounding culture.  Many pointed out that girls AND boys need to be educated more about rape and what it means exactly.  They were mostly very equal in their treatment of the perpetrators and victim.  While NPR called for support for the girl involved, they were also sure not to bash the assailants and referred to the incident more as a stupid decision made by unguided teens than a crime committed by monsters.  It was also interesting to hear the viewpoints provided by listeners who called into the show.  Some of them had good insights on rape from their own personal experiences.  

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One thing that became obvious to me when studying this case is the power of social media.  Reports of massive protests in Steubenville from people who had never even met the girl really showed how these media platforms can create a frenzy.  I think this can be both good and bad for cases in the future.  Good in the sense that social media can help spread awareness about wrongdoings, but bad in the sense that facts can sometimes become skewed and people can get worked up about things that they don’t fully understand.  This was most evident to me in some of the interviews I read in the transcripts.  In my opinion, the case should have ended with the conviction of these two teenagers.  But because of social media and the movement that developed because of this case, it’s almost like type of witch hunt developed.  Suddenly people who knew next to nothing about the case’s details were accusing the entire town of Steubenville for condoning rape.  Because of the public outcry, law enforcement has been forced to conduct a massive research effort regarding individuals who were surrounding the case.  All this does is perpetuate the living hell that this girl has had to go through over the last year.  It has been expressed that she and her family just wish the case could be over so that she could start rebuilding her life.  I think many people have become too obsessed with selfishly punishing as many people as they feasibly can and have lost sight of what is truly best for the victim.  This is an example of two kids committing a horrible act while others failed to intervene.  It was not a giant conspiracy put on by Steubenville to ruin a girl’s life.   

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Thoughts on Preliminary Findings

Thoughts on Preliminary Findings

Kids in Steubenville are in some serious need of social technology education. First, the boys film and post the video to all realm of social media. Second, kids comment and tweet about it, some even threatening the victim. Third, the victim allegedly sends a text message to the perpetrator and says that she knows he didn’t rape her.

What are they thinking?

You would think that they would get the message (due to the thousands of cases in which this type of technological ignorance has landed teens like themselves in tons of trouble) by now to keep it off the internet and off their phones. If the United States possesses the ability to detonate a bomb 7,000 miles away with the push of a button, do we not think they have the ability to read our text messages? Come on, our parents have the ability to do that.

This is what has been on my mind since Tuesday, and it’s something that came up over and over again in the blogs I was coding. There’s a growing movement in schools to impose some sort of technological education program and I am all for it. Kids need to know that they are digging their own graves (so to speak) when they post this type of thing. If we can just get them to think before they post, this type of thing wouldn’t happen.

 

But I digress. After all, this case isn’t about technological ignorance. The victim would still be a victim regardless of whether or not one word had ever been posted online. They are two different issues but one cannot separate. We wouldn’t know about this case if it were not for the indiscretions of a few teenagers. The boys probably wouldn’t be in jail. The victim would be just that, a victim, not a household idea (I say idea because we do not know her name, no thanks to FOX). In fact, she wouldn’t even know what exactly happened if it had not been posted.

After discussing our findings, I am grateful for a few things. One, it doesn’t seem as though the victim was framed too harshly or even at all. In all the blogs I coded, she was addressed as a 16 year old girl, a victim, etc. None every made her out to be anything but what she is, despite the mistakes she made that night that put her in the situation from the beginning. The boys carried it out and they are the ones who should and are being punished but this is another education issue that can and should be addressed. Have a plan, girls. Don’t rely on boys to be gentlemen because if Steubenville is any indication, they won’t be.

I’m also grateful that they named it rape, though her text message certainly poses some question to that effect. When I was coding, one of the scenes that continued to be described over and over again was the verdict coming down and Richmond collapsing into the arms of his attorney. He understood, in that moment, that he was going to be held responsible for his actions.

steubenville 3This picture is clear justice and heartbreaking at the same time. This 17 year old kid has been informed that his crime is recognized for what it is and he is going to be punished. He will be forever placed on the National Sex Offender Registry. He will be ostracized, placed in juvenile detention, and forever defined by his actions. The technology in this case is something to be thankful for, as the verdict could be delivered with little question. However, in the days before all of the technology, I do wonder how this case would have gone differently given all the same facts and evidence.

After receiving the information for our coding, reading the blogs and trying to piece together what actually happened, one thing is clear. There is much that we don’t know about this case; and I believe we will continue to learn things that will surprise us. The boys are on the National Sex Offender Registry for life, the victim is trying to heal from a traumatic event that she doesn’t remember (probably making it even worse), adults are being charged for acting like children and “not telling,” and the poor investigators on this case are trying to get through it all.

Related articles
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Team Paper Thoughts

The Steubenville rape case has provided a huge amount of conflict and controversy throughout the country and in my own mind.  In researching this event, I’ve been forced to ask myself questions I’ve never encountered before.  As I learn more and more about this case, I am surprised by how many angles there are to it.  When the story first came out on the news, it was portrayed as a simple rape case with two assailants and one victim.  However, the more I look at the facts, the more I can’t help but feel sorry for the assailants as well as the victim.  Yes, I know that sounds ridiculous to say.  After all, how can anyone have anyone have sympathy for rapists?  It is undeniable that rape is a gruesome tragedy and that all those who commit the horrible act should be punished.  However, it is important to define exactly what constitutes rape before calling someone a rapist. 

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In the case of Steubenville, the two assailants actually digitally (finger) penetrated the victim.  It is also important to note that this was not the first time digital penetration occurred that night.  The victim had no problem with it in the back of a car a few hours before the incident, and she was conscious during that time.  In reading some of the eyewitness reports, Ma’lik Richmond and Trent Hays don’t outwardly appear to be violent, evil, perverts to me.  They look more like frightened teens who made some horrible decisions.  In the courtroom videos, Trent Mays can be seen sobbing and showing remorse for what happened.   One of the boys was even said to have held the victim’s hair back for her as she puked in the street from excessive drinking earlier that night. Although I’m not saying what they did was acceptable by any means, I do think that there are some murky details in this case that should be observed.  What was the intent of the boys’ actions?  After all, the girl had supposedly been fine with digital penetration earlier.  Did they think she was accepting it again?  Was the girl actually unconscious, or just extremely drunk to the point of immobility?  I’m not the one to give rape a definition, but I think it is important that news providers clearly define what happened in the case so that the public can come to their own conclusions.  It is my belief that Ma’lik and Trent should be punished for their actions.  No one should take advantage of another person when that person isn’t in their right mind.  However, I personally see a difference between two immature high school students who made a big mistake and a sexual predator who violently rapes women for his own enjoyment.  Although what they did is wrong, I’m not sure they should simply be tossed into the category of rapist.  What happened in Steubenville is unfortunate on all sides of the case.  The victim, assailants, and entire town have had to suffer from the stupidity of two young men.

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In regards to research, I’m still sifting through yahoo news articles.  Almost all of the sources I’ve found are similar.  Many of the newer articles written about Steubenville don’t seem to have any frame within them.  I think this is because a lot of the passion has died down since the incident occurred.  Also, after seeing how major news stations came under fire for being too obvious in their framing, maybe others are afraid to share their opinions on the subject so openly.  It will be interesting to see how our class will be able to code the information we’ve gathered so far. 

Here are some examples of what i’ve been finding

http://gma.yahoo.com/steubenville-rape-case-grand-jury-indicts-schools-technology-204955582–abc-news-topstories.html

http://www.pjstar.com/free/x1155172926/Shutdown-spawns-vacuum-in-farm-market-information

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20130903/OPINION03/309030026/1969/NEWS

http://www.theintelligencer.net/page/content.detail/id/589921.html

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Steubenville Rape Case: Research and Discovery

By Tonya B. Lewis

As part of my Theory of Mass Communication’s class team paper on the Steubenville rape case, we are conducting a content analysis and reviewing print and online articles and broadcast transcripts (if we can find them). In the process of preparing a codebook (see my blog post, Abstracts, Lit. Reviews and Methods…Oh, My!), we have begun to read a sample of articles. This preliminary research has led to some discoveries of my personal, internal conflict with the case.

Conflict (Discovery)
The idea of rape is repulsive. But, what happens when the word “rape” is not used? Does “molestation” incite the same feelings of disgust? Does that euphemism take the sting out of the act? Should there be a clear distinction between rape and molestation? All of these questions have been posed in my mind while reading the accounts of the Steubenville rape case.

Mays and Richmond

Trent Mays (left) and Ma’lik Richmond (right) at their rape trial.

The victim in the case was digitally penetration (I admit I had to look that up to understand it.) by the perpetrators, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond. But, there was no sexual intercourse. When I read these accounts, the word I first thought of was “molestation” and not rape. Was my ignorance due to what I was taught or read over the years in media reports of sex crimes? Or, has the definition simply changed and evolved over the years?In a 2005 journal article, researchers Paul Mason and Jane Monckton-Smith write that the public perception of “real rape” is that it “is perpetrated by a stranger and involves aggravating violence.” I think that attitude is changing.

Footage from the night of the Steubenville rape that was shared on social media that ultimately alerted the victim of the assault that occurred. These images and video where later used by police as evidence.

Footage from the night of the Steubenville rape that was shared on social media that ultimately alerted the victim of the assault that occurred. These images and video where later used by police as evidence.

In Ohio, there is no ambiguity in what constitutes rape. Digital penetration is rape. According to media reports and social media posts, the perpetrators, and many of the other teenagers present during the assault definitely knew it was rape. A YouTube video (ABC News story) showed students laughing saying that the victim was “so raped.” Bottomline: Whether it’s rape or molestation, it’s wrong.

Coding (Research)
Reading these articles trying to detect the use of frames is proving to be a little more difficult than I initially anticipated. A judgement call between facts/statements vs. opinions must be for each article and correlated with other’s assessments of the article (i.e., coding). We still have work to do, but I think that refining our codebook along with our professor’s, Dr. Moody, review of the few articles we have coded, will help us refine our technique.

Additionally, our research team knows there are numerous, if not, hundreds, of articles on the Steubenville rape case but many seem to be lacking from databases. We have to create a formal way for others to find those article in the event that someone wants to replicate the study. In essence, this means there is potentially a great deal of articles that we will not be able to review, code and ultimately, include in our study. It is my hypothesis that framing is prevalent in coverage of the rape, and I am concerned that the articles, or lack thereof, will not exhibit or demonstrate the existence of frames. Or, that the dearth of articles will present inaccurate, incomplete or inadequate findings. I know every research study has limitations, and I don’t want this to be a major one for our research.

A part of me hopes that there are not many frames present in media coverage for the victim or the perpetrators. This would mean that journalists have gotten better at covering rape stories and eliminating some of the bias from their stories that maybe the journalism tenet of objectivity is not only real, but being adhered to. That may sound very idyllic, but keep in mind that I view every glass more than half full, wish unicorns were real and have been known to wish upon a star…

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Thoughts on Team Paper

By Malory Green

The team paper on the Steubenville rape case has been the cause of a good deal of controversy in our classroom and in my own mind. The questions we’ve been dealing with range from the actions of the girl, to the actions of the media, to whether or not it should even be termed rape. The question of rape vs. molestation has perhaps been the biggest source of questioning and I’ll paraphrase how Tonya put it so well in an effort to communicate my feelings on the matter.

Essentially, Tonya’s view is that these boys have a better understanding of rape than I did at their age, perhaps even as I do now. They called it rape on all sorts of social media and therefore had full and conscious knowledge of what they were doing.

Another idea that comes into my mind, particularly as I read the blogs that have been written on the matter, is whether or not the media did more harm than good in this situation. As someone who wants to one day join the ranks of mass media, to be a watchdog for the wrong and celebrate the right in the world, what is my role? Where do I need to stand on issues like this? NBC and CNN seemed to be making an attempt (albeit misguided) at unbiased journalism but the public was outraged. Where is the line between things that are absolutely wrongs against humanity and things that have more than one side?

steubenville steubenville 2

The above pictures represent the different ideas people have. Granted, the one on the left is not victim blaming but it represents the idea that these boys are all around good boys. They’re dressed well, they look remorseful. The look like young boys who are simply terrified about what’s going to happen in their lives. It plays to everyone’s (including my) sympathy. The other picture represents the outrage surrounding such shots.

What makes this paradox so disturbing is the fact that it doesn’t only represent the media’s point of view. Everyone is baffled by this case as our sympathies are torn by the fact that we believe something was taken from that girl (whether you believe it’s rape or not, her dignity was certainly taken) but at the same time, compassion surfaces for the fact that those boys’ lives are ruined.

What they did was wrong. That’s it. Wrong. They should be punished, and I am so happy they are receiving sentences for their crime. So, while part of me is outraged at the act they committed for the sake of that girl and the principle of human kindness but a small part of me also wonders how much of that the boys realized they were doing, particularly in their inebriated state. It’s not an excuse for them, it’s not a request for a lighter sentence-it is simply a sadness all around for the situation.

As far as our research goes, I’ve found a good many blog articles on the topic. Over half seem to be regular bloggers whose opinions on legal matters are well respected, while about 30% are professionals. The theme and tone of these blogs tends to be outrage-outrage at the boys, outrage at the adults who should have been there, outrage at the adults who covered it up, outrage at the media for how they handled it. In my case, its outrage and heartbreak at the situation as a whole.

It’s baffling that the broadcast outlets don’t have anything regarding the case on their sites, it makes one wonder what they’re attempting to hide. The only thing I was able to uncover with broadcast was the fact that Serena Williams made a good many people angry. Of course, then there’s Maria Sharapova who had to chime in on the issue.

serena

I’m sure I should have talked more about the actual research involved, but this case isn’t statistics. It isn’t hard data that I can just analyze and project my theories on to. It’s a human being, it’s three human beings. My research is going well, the blogs posted on the subject range in relevance but are so numerous that it hardly matters. The only difficulty in the project for me at this moment (other than the difficulty finding broadcast media outlets) is reconciling the case itself. That’s what I’m struggling with, and I know we’re all equally disturbed.

Struggle well, friends.

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Savannah Landerholm and Apple TV

By Malory Green

Last year, Savannah Landerholm began writing a paper, she had no idea it would expose her to a completely new technology, one that would affect her everyday life.

Savannah’s paper was on Apple TV. Now, for anyone who has no idea what Apple TV is, (I didn’t before Savannah’s presentation) I’ll break it down a little bit. Apple TV connects all the user’s devices in one wireless box that will come together to show up on the user’s television. There are no wires or USB cords involved, and people who do not have other apple products can still sync their phones and computers with a simple app download.

An example of an Apple TV box and remote

An example of an Apple TV box and remote

Now, if you’re like me, you’re probably thinking, “that sounds cool but not worth $100.” Well, if that was all Apple TV did, you’d be right. It also allows you the opportunity to access Netflix and other apps to download virtually any show you want to watch. If you allow two weeks, you can watch these shows for free or you can pay a small fee to see them the night they air.

If you’re a news junkie, you might be wondering how the news would be relevant two weeks after it aired. Apple TV has thought of this as well and provides apps that the user can download to see that day’s reports. Many people use this type of feature for sports as well.

Thanks to Apps, Apple TV can access news as well

Savannah used a focus group as part of her content analysis and the consensus was that Apple TV was worth it. All of them said they would use it again and many of them use it as a substitute for cable. People are constantly looking to Apple to come out with the newest products and they are not alone in the alternative TV market at this point but they are certainly ahead of their competition. Apple believers are among those who flock to use Apple TV as a viable alternative for cable but they are not alone.

Representing the Cable vs. Apple TV debate

Students tend to use it as a substitute for cable, so that they don’t have to pay the monthly fee and the cost is much cheaper in the long run. People with more stable income generally supplement their existing cable with it in the same manner one might use a DVR except it also syncs to their devices.

One of Savannah’s focus group participants said that she lives alone and doesn’t like quiet so she uses it to constantly have a background of noise at her apartment and to play music for dinner parties. Others also noted that it made sharing videos easier than crowding around a computer as the devices are synced.
The only downsides seem to be if one regularly has shows that they would not want to hear the outcome of before they watched. If someone doesn’t have two weeks to wait for the show to post, they might fear spoilers. Another downside is that Netflix doesn’t have every show, however it seemed that the user could find whatever they wanted through the TV.

How can this be legal? Well, I had the same question. It seems too good to be true but it is 100% legal. The only legality issues are with ones that are “jail-broken” meaning they have access to shows immediately and virtually everything available, unhindered by traditional restrictions. Those will be made illegal beginning in 2015, though so it remains to be seen how that will affect those who already have them.

Overall, Apple TV sounds like a wonderful idea for the person who has cable but really can’t afford it, or the person who routinely watches multiple episodes of a show and prefers the bigger screen of the television. The upfront cost hardly seems daunting in the face of a year-long cable contract.
Savannah now utilizes Apple TV as a replacement for cable and had nothing but glowing reviews.

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Research: A Graduate Student’s Perspective

By Tonya B. Lewis

In this week’s Theory of Mass Communication class, international journalism graduate student, Savanah Landerholm spoke about the research project she conducted in the Research Methods in Mass Communication class last year.

The Research
Apple TVAfter receiving  an Apple TV device with the purchase of a laptop and seeing a gap in the scholarly literature on the topic, Savanah decided to conduct her research on the device.  Savanah’s project focused on the emerging use of Apple TV, which allows users to stream photos, music, movies and TV  seamlessly on their television using their mobile device, laptop or tablet. For the basis of her project, Savanah combined lens of uses and gratification theory in an effort to gauge users satisfaction and various uses of Apple TV. She employed a six-person focus group who were rewarded with food for their participation.

Savanah Landerholm, Michelle Rava, Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D., Liz Cohen, Claire Fournon and Danielle Brown presented their research at the 2013 AEJMC Midwinter Conference in Norman, Okla.

Savanah Landerholm, Michelle Rava, Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D., Liz Cohen, Claire Fournon and Danielle Brown presented their research at the 2013 AEJMC Midwinter Conference in Norman, Okla.

From her study, she was able to deduce that Apple TV owners used their devices for five specific reasons such as for entertainment, convenience, cost-effectiveness, brand loyalty and because it was cutting edge. Savanah also noted that most people used their device for two to three hours a day. She was able to present her findings at the 2013 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s  Midwinter Conference.

My Thoughts

As I sat listening to Savanah recount her research, methods and findings, I gained more clarity on how to conduct legitimate research.  It was great to hear about research from a current graduate student’s perspective. Hearing her recall how she recruited participants and how she brainstormed to develop her research idea, I believe will prove useful as I gear up for my research. Her topic opened my mind up to other research possibilities and interests, and it inspired and encouraged me  to submit my own research article to a journal once it is completed. It’s one thing to read an ambiguous textbook or journal article on theories and research and then to hear firsthand from someone who completed their  project well. It makes a lasting impression.

I found Savanah’s presentation very interesting, and I loved the discourse it stimulated in the classroom. (By the way, I am debating on buying an Apple TV device this weekend.) As someone who enjoys learning about new technology and its uses, her topic had me engaged. I hope to engender the same types of reactions to my research one day.

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Team Work: Studying the Steubenville High School Rape Case

A photo montage of various TV interviews where the subjects express sympathy for the Steubenville rapists and not for their 16-year-old victim.

A photo montage of various TV interviews where the subjects express sympathy for the Steubenville rapists and not for their 16-year-old victim.

By Tonya B. Lewis

This semester, my Theory of Mass Communication class will work together and explore framing of the Steubenville rape case by analyzing print, broadcast and online publications.

The team paper is a collaboration between Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D., Sara Stone, Ph.D. and this year’s journalism graduate student cohort.

The Project
The preliminary framework for the paper has been outlined. Although, it is early in the process, I believe a solid, analytical paper has been created that will further scholarship and add to the existing body of work in the area of framing, especially dealing with rape, gender issues and race.

Tweet of CNN Coverage

The public used social media to openly chastise media outlets for coverage of the Steubenville rape case.

Personally, I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to such a paper on a topic that I feel personally connected. With the increase of rape cases, most notably, a similar case at Vanderbilt University, there is a need to examine the media’s coverage of the issue. For instance, in the case, of an 11-year-old rape victim in Cleveland, Texas, the media’s coverage, specifically The New York Times framing of the case, ignited furor leading to the media becoming part of the story. This example underscores the need for more research on the media’s coverage of rape cases. As part of the research, I will be responsible for reviewing print media, and I am curious to see what trends, patterns and frames emerge. Currently, the research focuses on three frames associated with rape and violence towards women-“victim blaming, mob mentality (hypermasculinity) and race.” We need to incorporate additional research studies in the three areas to discover what has been the consistently evident in media coverage.

Footage from the night of the Steubenville rape that was shared on social media that ultimately alerted the victim of the assault that occurred. These images and video where later used by police as evidence.

Footage from the night of the Steubenville rape that was shared on social media that ultimately alerted the victim of the assault that occurred. These images and video where later used by police as evidence.

Thoughts of the Victim
In reading all of the literature and coverage of the Steubenville rape case, I cannot help but wonder about the 16-year-old victim. She has been criticized by the public, has seen images of her rape casually shared via text message and email like a friendly emoticon and has been mostly marginalized and omitted in most media coverage.  I wonder if she knew about our study, what would she think? What sort of emotions would it conjure for her? Would she hope that our findings would change how rape and rape victims are covered in the news?  Does she even care? Or,  has she just simply tried to move forward and focus on her future?

As for me, I hope this research is celebrated for its scholarly contribution to academia, but more importantly, I hope it causes members of the media to be conscious of what and how they report on rape cases.