Newspaper Headlines on Human Trafficking in the United States from 2000 to 2010: A Pilot Study
Since 2000, human trafficking has become an increasingly prevalent issue in the United States and around the world. International efforts to combat this crime have taken shape as a result. Consequently, these efforts have captured the attention of the media. Previous research on the media coverage of human trafficking examined the framing of stories, in addition to the representation of differing opinions on the issue. While these studies are valuable, scholarship is limited to only two major U.S. newspapers. To date, no research has examined headlines to determine the extent and frequency of newspaper coverage geographically. The objective of this investigation was to further document the extent and frequency of U.S. newspaper coverage by studying headlines associated with human trafficking. To achieve this goal, a pilot study was created. Thereafter, a random sample of 54 newspapers, ranging in circulation size, location, and type of ownership across the United States was examined. The headlines in each newspaper were tabulated from 2000 to 2010 due to a significant increase in human trafficking coverage during this time frame, as revealed through previous studies. This study concludes that newspapers with higher circulations have heavier coverage of human trafficking compared to newspapers with lower circulations. These findings have the potential to serve as a foundation for future research into the extent and frequency of U.S. print media coverage of human trafficking. Tests of three other hypotheses failed to show strong statistical significance. A geographical visualization and analysis of human trafficking coverage in the United States are also included. Finally, the researcher shed light on several published works on human trafficking, in conjunction with those outside media research, to augment understanding of the complex issue.
0708: Mass communications