Date of Award

Summer 8-2017

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Criminal Justice


Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Security

Committee Chair

Joshua Hill

Committee Chair Department

Criminal Justice

Committee Member 2

Charles Scheer

Committee Member 2 Department

Criminal Justice

Committee Member 3

Laura Gulledge

Committee Member 3 Department

Criminal Justice


Mass media outlets newspapers and television were traditionally where individuals gathered their news information; however, with the growth of new media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, individuals are now co-producers of the content that is seen by the public. Previous research indicated that media-generated images of the police influence public perception and that new media outlets are becoming increasingly influential, particularly in regards to social and political conflicts. This means that research on the role of new media outlets in socially constructing reality is essential, though not much of this research has yet been completed. This current analysis fills this gap in the literature by examining the question of how images of police are constructed by different social groups, using ethnographic content analysis on the social media platforms Instagram and Twitter in relation to police images with the #BlackLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter hashtags.