MEDIA MONITORING INITIATIVE
and May 2004, the three local coordinating councils of the Debwewin
Three City Anti-racism
Initiative undertook a significant project: to monitor the print media
for coverage of aboriginal issues. Three media monitoring focus groups
were identified in North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie and Timmins. Each undertook
to monitor stories featuring aboriginal content in their local daily,
nearby community newspapers and a national newspaper.
local media monitoring focus groups undertook to monitor the following
North Bay Nugget
Tribune - West Nipissing This Week
Parry Sound North Star
Sault This Week
Wawa-Algoma News Review
Elliot Lake Standard
Timmins Daily Press
Kirkland Lake Northern Daily News
Kapuskasing Northern Times
Iroquois Falls Enterprise
Cochrane Northland Post
Globe and Mail
component of the research employs as an "instrument"
a coding sheet for every clipped newspaper article on aboriginal issues,
first categorizing it as a news story, opinion piece, photo, editorial,
column, backgrounder, letter, feature, cartoon, or other.
The coding sheet
makes specific references to stories about crime, protest, or tragedy
and whether or not a suspect/victims are identified as aboriginal.
This sorting is designed to determine if media are predisposed to
negative coverage of aboriginal issues.
It noted if the
article is about land claims, politics, justice, culture, living conditions,
environment, health, economics, Aboriginal rights, youth, fishing/hunting,
tourism, education/training, language, media/communications, spiritual
beliefs or other.
assigning a value from one to five, with one being strongly agree and
five being strongly disagree, each article was evaluated with the following
article examines all sides of the story;
story appears to be well researched; this story is objective;
is cultural stereotyping in this story; the writer shows an interest
in reaching a solution;
reader finds the story offensive;
The writer conveys a sense of optimism;
headline fits the story;
headline or caption is negative;
terminology is used in this story;
story deserves positive mention;
article is cynical; and
article treats a complex issue in a superficial manner.
Finally, the evaluation
sheet for each sample has space for other comments.
In addition to
the completed coding sheets for each sample, the researchers met weekly
to share and discuss results and further categorize them. These discussions
used the tools of critical discourse analysis, examining argumentative
statements and the meaning of words used in articles. Story structure
and placement were examined and rhetorical statements interpreted.
quantitative component analyzed the number of aboriginal content stories.