Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Critical Discourse Analysis of Media: A Systematic Approach to Analyzing Child Welfare Representation in the Media

Critical Discourse Analysis of Media: A Systematic Approach to Analyzing Child Welfare Representation in the Media

Michael Henson

The relationship between the child welfare system and the media has been generally a rocky one.  Media coverage often focuses on extreme cases, such as child fatalities, and attributes the blame to the failure of the child welfare system.  Such coverage often has a negative impact not the child welfare system and the families it serves, causing advocates to call for strategies to improve the relationship between the media and the child welfare system.  By taking a case study approach, this article demonstrates how Norman Fairclough’s (1995) critical discourse analysis (CDA) can provide a theoretical framework and methodology to be used by researchers, practitioners, and students to develop evidence-based strategies to improve the relationship between the child welfare system and the media.   In order to establish the current context of this topic, existing literature and previously proposed strategies for the child welfare system engagement with the media are described.   Fairclough’s theoretical framework for CDA is then presented with discussion of how it allows for an in-depth understanding of the complex processes of news production.  To demonstrate how the theoretical framework can be turned into practice, Fairclough’s methodology for CDA is outlined and then applied to analyze three news articles from CBS news following the case of Cesar Gonzalez-Mugaburu.  By referencing the results of the case study, the article concludes with a discussion of how CDA can be used to develop media engagement strategies for researchers, practitioners, and students.

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April 6, 2017 - Posted by | abstract

1 Comment »

  1. This is a minor edit, but I would tweak the first sentence as the casual, more flippant tone that you use to characterize the relationship between the child welfare system and the media does not accurately reflect the seriousness of the subject you are discussing. Perhaps instead you could say the relationship has been generally contentious, controversial, or litigious? As in “The relationship between the child welfare system and the media has been characterized by controversy.” Just a thought. Other than that, amazingly well-written as per usual!

    Comment by Kailey McAlpin | April 17, 2017 | Reply


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