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Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)


Communication, Professional

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

John M. King

Committee Members

Carrie Oliveira, Leslie A. McCallister


This research expected pit bull coverage to become more violent and more negative in the wake of the Vick trial, so a content analysis was conducted of "pit bull" mentions in the year 2006 and in 2009. The first year was intended to provide a comparison for this study, documenting the pit bull's mediated depiction before the Vick trial. Mentions from 2009 were intended to represent the aftermath of this trial, pinpointing its effects on the breed's mediated depiction. Tonal mentions of the breed were almost 17 percentage points more negative in 2009 than in 2006. Violent mentions increased by a more than 20 percentage points during this period. Topical selections also shifted, and 2009 coverage chose to focus more on pit bull attacks than in 2006. This research proposes a theory of collateral fallout for mediated subjects, and pit bulls, as a brand, have suffered from this fallout.

Document Type

Thesis - restricted


Copyright by the authors.