Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

12-2008

School/College

College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences (COLABS)

Degree Name

MA in English

First Advisor

James W. Ward

Abstract

When two airlines crashed into the World Trade Towers in New York and a third one struck the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001, the events easily became identified as the greatest news story of the Twenty-First Century. The media in the United States quickly identified the damage and loss of life, in particular in New York, as the worst act of terrorism on American soil in its history. How did Texas Black newspapers handle the tragedy of September eleven, AKA, Nine-Eleven? How did New York City Black newspapers handle the tragedy of Nine-Eleven? To what extent did the weeklies provide coverage and commentary on this otherwise national news event? Did the Texas newspapers respond with similar general news coverage and editorials publish by the New York newspaper? Were they similar to ii the general news coverage and editorializing published by the White press? Was there a continuous condemnation of those accused in the Black press similar to what the White press regularly printed? This study of the coverage of this national news event is based on the examination of the issues published by three Black newspaper weeklies and on what each weekly produced and published during a six month period of time. The newspapers selected included the New York Amsterdam News of New York City, New York, the Dallas Weekly of Dallas, Texas and the Houston Defender of Houston, Texas. The six month span of time under consideration begins with news coverage involving the first week of the tragedy, September 10, 2001 through March 13,2002. Many Americans receive their national news and information from national and local television news organizations. The next greatest sources complementing TV news are radio and daily newspapers. In the case of this national news event, touted by news outlets as perhaps the greatest long-standing news story, news outlets, including cable channels and 24 hour news networks, pumped Americans of all races and ethnic groups. From the very first reports that a passenger airplane struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York through the iii commemorative reporting one year later, news coverage continues almost daily in all of these venues for news except one, the Black press. Is there something significant in this premise? Did the Black press miss the importance of this news story? Or was there something about the Nine Eleven story that made its connection to one audience and not another? A content analysis of the previously mentioned Texas and New York weekly newspapers should reveal that there were indeed significant differences in both qualitative and quantitative aspects of delivering this significant American story to the readership of the Black press. That the Black press saw this story differently from the White press, and hence, covered it distinctively different from the White press because the tragedy seemed more like an attack on White America; and that it, the Black press, provided commentary not likely found regularly in the White press. The thesis will show that these are some of the conclusions that are not only common, but are traditional traits that fit well into the long and worthy history fostered by the Black press.

COinS