The influence of dominant narratives on news photography: a quantitative content analysis of images from the war in Afghanistan
Schulze, Claudius (2010) The influence of dominant narratives on news photography: a quantitative content analysis of images from the war in Afghanistan. [Thesis]
Official URL: http://192.168.1.20/record=b1301400 (Table of Contents)
Photography is never an accurate reflection of reality but an interpretation that contain suggestive narrations. Even more, pictures can frame news items so that certain readings are supported and other suppressed. In conflict research, those promoting escalation or de-escalation are of highest prominence. In addition, studies suggest that picture editors tend to select images that reiterate prevailing narrations such as official and governmental rhetoric. The present research examines photographs covering the War in Afghanistan. During the course of the war, a change of president office occurred at one of the belligerent powers, the United States: George W. Bush, who started the war and is infamous for his diehard slogans, was succeeded by Barack Obama, well known for his peaceful rhetoric. The researcher's hunch is that with the change of office and governmental rhetoric, the picture selection in mainstream media changed accordingly. This supposition was successfully tested by a quantitative analysis of photographs published in The New York Times. The study's results show a clear trend from escalatory image rhetoric during the Presidency of George W. Bush to more de-escalation orientated rhetoric with the inauguration of Barack Obama. Besides this finding, the present research contributes methodology as a coding framework for the quantitative analysis of photographs on escalatory and de-escalatory image rhetoric had to be developed. The studies result underline the importance of photography in media and shows how unsatisfying the image selection is in many cases. It urges for a more conscious selection of photographs in media.
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