A Study of The New York Times Coverage of the Darfur, Sudan Conflict, July 2003 - July 2006
This multi-method study examines how The New York Times reported on the Darfur conflict in Sudan, which has led to an estimated 300,000 deaths and over 2.3 million people displaced due to fighting between tribes of Arab and Black Sudanese. Drawing on postcolonial and normative theories and prior studies of Africa's representation, I analyze how the conflict was framed and what role sources played in reinforcing or resisting Western neocolonial values. I also explore how news-making processes impacted journalists' reporting on Darfur. The content and textual analyses largely support results of prior studies on news framing of Africa. However, interviews with five New York Times journalists reveal that the individual biases and motives of the journalists and their sources significantly influenced the coverage. While the journalists participated in news-making processes distinguishable by journalist goal, source availability, and source credibility, their sources also provided information that reinforced certain media frames.