The Role of Media in Shaping Public Perceptions About LGBT Policy Discussions in Idaho

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Student Presentation

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Rosie Conley-Estrada


This study investigates the role of media in Idaho news during the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) issue of adding the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the Idaho Human Rights Act. Specifically, it examines how language is used through online articles from local newspapers to construct a culture that nurtures public perception of the LGBT community and it’s campaign for equality. By taking a closer look at the media’s role in shaping public opinion from the early 1950s to the present, this study investigates how media constructed narratives of exclusion and inclusion and how it creates shifts in perceptions over time. The significance of this work lies in the examination of the media’s language use which has shaped a historically conservative and anti-LGBT political environment in Idaho. In order to thoroughly examine the role of media, this work will utilize NVivo, a linguistics software, with content analysis of newspaper articles to examine language use and discussion over the ADD THE WORDS campaign. I hypothesize that greater media coverage utilizing neutral and/or favorable language, mirrored by media discourses at the national level, will lead to more supportive coverage and public perceptions of the Idaho LGBT community. The implication being that Idaho media may be a major influence towards the support of future policy action for the local LGBT community.

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