Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)


Communication, Professional

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

John M. King

Committee Members

James J. Mooney, Roberta Herrin


According to Gerbner's cultivation theory, misrepresentations in the media create false realities in the minds of society. To date, much research has been done on the impact of this phenomenon on women, minority races, and the homosexual community. Little consideration has been given, however, to geographic minorities such as Appalachians. This study attempts to identify the frequency and manner of representations of Appalachia in major metropolitan newspapers across the U.S. By conducting a framing analysis on a sample of 823 individual mentions of "Appalachia" in 2005, the author is able to illustrate interesting relationships between geographic proximity and the type of portrayal. Among these, mentions originating in Appalachia were much more likely to frame the region positively than those mentions published outside the region. Similarly, Appalachia and surrounding areas were most likely to report on Appalachia, with more than 75% of all mentions originating within 250 miles of the region.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access


Copyright by the authors.