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Arts and Humanities


The Upper Midwest has been hit especially hard by COVID-19 (Farzan et al., 2020). The response to the virus has been orchestrated primarily at the state level. As such, the objective of this project is to determine how state-level policies influenced news coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic by analyzing episodic and thematic frames (Iyengar, 1987) in newspapers of two states with varying responses to the pandemic. Indeed, research has demonstrated that framing can vary by population (Feezell et al., 2019). Thus, this project will seek to understand the nature between frames and mask mandate policies within two states: (1) Newspaper articles in states without a mask mandate are more episodic than thematic. (2) Newspaper articles in states with a mask mandate are more thematic than episodic. (3) State A’s newspaper articles are more episodic than State B’s newspaper articles. (4) State B’s newspaper articles are more thematic than State A’s newspaper articles. This research project will create novel research in the framing theory literature and its application to better understanding the correlation between news framing and pandemic policy.

First Advisor

Shame Semmler

Second Advisor

Travis Loof

Research Area

Communication Studies