Framing and reframing the 1992 LA Riots: A study of minority issues framing by the Los Angeles Times and its readers


In the advent of societal issues surrounding minority groups, this paper investigates a significant such example in history (1992 Los Angeles Riots) to better understand how mainstream news media covered the story with regard to issues pertaining to key minority groups (blacks, Koreans). Utilizing theoretical frameworks such as media framing and the public sphere (Habermas, 1989), this paper examined how the Los Angeles Times framed issues regarding those minority communities before, during, and after the 1992 LA riots. Furthermore, the study analyzed audience discourse (letters to the editor) in the same time period to examine how the frames in news coverage compares with audience framing. Findings suggested that in the months after the riots, LAT significantly altered its coverage in a way that corresponded with the framing by its readers. Findings were then discussed in light of mass communication’s relationship with society, especially for minority representation and framing.


journalism; reporting; framing; race minorities; audiences


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Soo-Kwang Oh received his Ph.D. from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Pepperdine University.,


Justin Hudson graduated an M.A. in the education from the University of California-Berkeley, is a Ph.D. candidate at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. hudsonjustin000@gmail,

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