Covering Adoption: General Depictions in Broadcast News

Authors

  • Susan L. Kline,

    Corresponding author
      *Dr. Susan L. Kline is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication at The Ohio State University, 3016 Derby Hall, 154 North Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210 (kline.48@osu.edu).
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  • Amanda I. Karel,

    Corresponding author
      Amanda I. Karel is a Doctoral Student in the School of Communication at The Ohio State University, 3016 Derby Hall, 154 North Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210 (karel.5@osu.edu).
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  • Karishma Chatterjee

    Corresponding author
      Karishma Chatterjee is a Doctoral Student in the School of Communication at The Ohio State University, 3016 Derby Hall, 154 North Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210 (chatterjee.23@osu.edu).
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*Dr. Susan L. Kline is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication at The Ohio State University, 3016 Derby Hall, 154 North Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210 (kline.48@osu.edu).

Amanda I. Karel is a Doctoral Student in the School of Communication at The Ohio State University, 3016 Derby Hall, 154 North Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210 (karel.5@osu.edu).

Karishma Chatterjee is a Doctoral Student in the School of Communication at The Ohio State University, 3016 Derby Hall, 154 North Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210 (chatterjee.23@osu.edu).

Abstract

Abstract: Using theories of stigma (Goffman, 1963) and media frames (Iyengar, 1991), 292 news stories pertaining to adoption that appeared on major broadcast networks between 2001 and 2004 were analyzed. Media coverage of adoptees contained more problematic than positive depictions. Although birth parents were not always depicted, adoptive parent and adoptive family depictions were more positive than problematic. Fourteen percent of the news stories contained stigmatizing claims without refuting these claims. Stories that contained stigmatizing claims were more likely to use human interest, conflict, and morality frames. News coverage of reunions, open adoptions, and adoption recommendations is beginning to show a more forward view of adoption. Recommended programs for adoption education are included.

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