National media coverage of missing women is unequal when it comes to race, with missing Anglo women receiving more attention than black women, said Dr. Mia Moody, assistant professor of journalism and media arts at Baylor University.
Baylor University reports:
Prominence given to stories about missing individuals can affect how authorities handle a case, and families of victims who receive national attention inevitably receive more aid from local and national police and investigators, said Moody, author of Black and Mainstream Press’ Framing of Racial Profiling: A Historical Perspective.
One of the tenets of journalism is objectivity, Moody said. But sometimes, despite journalists’ good intentions, coverage is slanted because of “framing” — magnifying or minimizing coverage based on such factors as a woman’s youth, beauty and occupation.
“Framing is not intentional — it’s different from ‘spin,’ where you know what you’re doing — but it’s based on your race, your gender, your values, your upbringing,” Moody said. “You cover an issue based on what you bring to the table. We just have different viewpoints.”
Moody, whose research was based on examination of mainstream media’s coverage, said she is doing new studies to see whether coverage differences are as pronounced in blogs and other new media.
“The research is ongoing,” said Moody, who has enlisted students to assist in the effort. “I don’t want to let it go.”