Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)


Communication, Professional

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

John M. King

Committee Members

Stephen W. Marshall, Kelly Price


This research sought to explore media framing theory, first introduced by Erving Goffman, which asserts that the media portray certain items in a way that affects awareness, salience and tone of those items. There has long been debate about media framing especially as it pertains to the framing of violent events. Mass shootings are of particular interest because of the graphic and often senseless nature of the crime. This study looked particularly at the 2011 Tucson, Arizona mass shooting.

A content analysis of articles between February 7, 2010, and November 8, 2011, was conducted to explore media framing of gun control after the Tucson, Arizona mass shooting involving U. S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

Results showed an equal amount of articles with a negative or neutral tone, with the tone shifting to being more frequently neutral after the shooting. The topic shifted toward legislation, adding further support to media framing theory. These findings have impacts for media and public relations.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.