The 2014 Pittsburgh Hill District Redevelopment in the News : Frames, News Values, and Sources

Heglas, Kayla and Papen, Uta and Atanasova, Dimitrinka (2022) The 2014 Pittsburgh Hill District Redevelopment in the News : Frames, News Values, and Sources. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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The Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is known for its rich cultural history that has been heavily influenced by its historically Black population. After years of disinvestment, in 2014, public and private investors announced plans to redevelop the area in an attempt to revitalise the community and its economy. With the announcement, Hill District residents were concerned that the planned redevelopment could lead to gentrification in the area. Although the redevelopment received significant attention in the news, little research has been devoted to analysing the views and voices in the news coverage. This study is the first to analyse how the Hill District redevelopment was reported in Pittsburgh news outlets, specifically online newspapers. It focuses on how the redevelopment was reported in Pittsburgh news media in the important early stages of its announcement. It draws on theories from across linguistics and media and communication studies, specifically, frame theory, news values, sources (what types of sources are quoted and how their statements are introduced when quoted). The study also examines the role of visual images within the different frames and elaborates the types of news values that visual images construe. Through examining a data set of seven news articles, which were published at key points in the redevelopment timeline, the close textual analysis exposes that the analysed newspapers incorporate two frames that work together to present the redevelopment in a positive light and a counter-frame which positions the redevelopment not as a solution, but as the problem. Two frames offer positive representations of the redevelopment, voiced by conventionally authoritative sources such as politicians and business representatives, while the counter-frame is representative of grassroots organisation leaders’ voices. Fears about displacement and gentrification are part of this counter-frame. When community group voices and views are not represented in the news, attitudes abou t redevelopment deals become one-sided, naturalised and overall, they exclude voices of those most directly affected, the community.

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Thesis (PhD)
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28 Jan 2022 16:10
Last Modified:
05 Jun 2024 23:44