A New Protest Paradigm: Toward a Critical Approach to Protest News Analyses

Summer Harlow, Danielle K. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Decades after the development of the “protest paradigm,” scholarship continues to question the applicability of the paradigm under different circumstances, rather than pushing forward a more holistic theory that more adequately addresses the roles of producers, consumers, and media products. In this introduction to the special issue on news and protest, we argue that the relevance and any potential future advances of the protest paradigm depend on the (re)incorporation of its critical foundations, making explicit analyses of power hierarchies, and offering solutions for better journalistic coverage of protests. The articles in this special issue are linked by a recognition of the limitations of the protest paradigm and highlight emerging opportunities for moving beyond the paradigm and for considering the interplay of power structures to better understand protest news coverage. Acknowledging the media's place in and contribution to power hierarchies allows us to move beyond the paradigm's origins and contribute to a more holistic understanding of journalists’ role in the legitimization of social struggles. In doing so, we advocate for scholars to reimagine what news coverage should look like when it comes to social protests struggling against historic and systemic inequities and injustices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-343
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Press/Politics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • critical approach
  • hierarchy of social struggle
  • protest news
  • protest paradigm
  • special issue


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