Reconciliation in the news : a framing analysis of residential schools and the TRC in Canadian national newspapers
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The news media play an important role in our society by framing issues and helping to set the public agenda. However, through the use of framing, news media can also privilege entrenched interests and particular worldviews. Nowhere is this clearer than in the historical treatment of Indigenous issues and people by Canadian news media. Now, with reconciliation a national priority, it becomes important to investigate media framing in light of the summary report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to discover how the residential school system and the TRC’s work are framed. This thesis project examined the news frames employed in 102 articles from Canada’s two national newspapers in the six months following the release of the TRC’s summary report. Using both deductive and inductive modes of inquiry, the study found an overreliance on the use of conflict and attribution of responsibility frames to assign blame to the federal government, highlight discord between various political and social groups, and maintain the status quo by questioning the TRC’s findings. While some articles framed news in a way that supports reconciliation—typically through the use of Indigenous voices and the human-interest frame—ultimately, this study found that more work needs to be done in the treatment of Indigenous people and issues by our media
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