Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Academic Program

Political Science BS


Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

First Advisor

Marek Steedman, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Bridget Hayden, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Sabine Heinhorst, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs


The purpose of this study is to examine community dialogues on the social media platform, Twitter, in order to better understand how conventional media framing influences conversations on social media. The Black Lives Matter movement, one of the most prominent, current social justice movements, was founded on Twitter. Since then this platform has played a pivotal role in gaining awareness for issues of marginalized citizens. While Black Lives Matter has had a key role in the development of public perception, so has the traditional media. Through the use of media framing, the dominant class has the ability to reinforce or reject opinons about these deaths.

Through a two-stage research process, this study evaluated the role of media framing in the deaths of Philando Castile, George Floyd, Aura Rosser and Breonna Taylor. After gaining a better understanding of the framing, the study moved on to analyzing tweets about these deaths. After conducting a thorough analysis, the research found that often tweets that were coded as negative served as defenses of the victims rather than a negative reflection of the victims. The positive coded tweets were further reinforcement for the positive traits about the victims. Overall, the media framing did influence the perception of some victims, but it was not a strict relationship that a victim with negative media framing was discussed negatively on Twitter.

Keywords: Black Lives Matter, respectability politics, police brutality,Twitter, Philando Castile, George Floyd, Aura Rosser, Breonna Taylor