Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Stephanie Hartwell

Second Advisor

Heather Zaykowski

Third Advisor

J. Cedric Woods


It is no secret that the media plays a critical role in framing national discussions on race and victimhood (Gilchrist, 2010). Using a sociological lens to evaluate the intersection of victimhood, race, and media is necessary to gain greater understanding of the visibility of marginalized groups. American Indians occupy a unique position as not only one of the most marginalized groups in the United States, but also as a group that is deeply embedded in the American social and political systems (Snipp, 1992). Furthermore, colonial logic and the systematic erasure of American Indians established an initial baseline for victimhood and the normalization of violence against “the other” in the United States. These perceptions of victimhood and normalization of violence against “the other” have contributed to the longstanding invisibilization of American Indians by powerful social institutions such as the media and the criminal justice system. While empirical scholarship in Sociology and Media Studies have examined news as a cultural product via content analysis and qualitative interviews with journalists, the current study takes the current research one step further by garnering the perspectives of 32 journalists across the United States. This study addresses journalistic decision-making around the intersection of race, crime and media, with the specific focus on American Indians, one of the most invisibilized and marginalized groups. Implications for policy and future research are discussed.


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