“It’s Just Not the Whole Story”: Black Perspectives of Protest Portrayals

Danielle K. Brown, Tamar Wilner, Gina M. Masullo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


News organizations have a long history of covering civil rights protests in delegitimizing ways, and scholars have found that this coverage negatively affects public opinion. However, most media effects work has minimized the perspectives of Black people, and little is known about how racial identity might affect how protest coverage is perceived. We both survey (n = 1,052) and interview (n = 27) Black Americans to provide a rich understanding and interpretation of how they see and experience media coverage and how that influences them. We contribute to the literature by showing that Black Americans are dissatisfied with how news media cover their communities and covers protests, and they feel this coverage reifies harmful stereotypes and perpetuates invisibility politics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-395
Number of pages14
JournalHoward Journal of Communications
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper is a project of the Center for Media Engagement (CME) in the Moody College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin, USA. This paper is part of CME’s connective democracy initiative, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Black Lives matter
  • media effects
  • media inequality
  • news audiences
  • protest paradigm
  • racialized news


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