High School Research in the Red Hen Lab

1. Framing Narrative With Images: The Selection of Still Photographs in Network News

By Nicholas Haubrich and Donald Peyton Turner at Shaker Heights High School, Ohio. May-June 2013.

A multimodal analysis using the University of California Los Angeles Library Broadcast NewsScape, a research collection of more than 200,000 searchable television news programs.

Faculty advisor: Professor Francis Steen, Communication Studies, UCLA.
Local coordinator: Mark Turner, co-director of the Red Hen Lab.

Abstract: For our Senior Project at Shaker Heights High School, we investigated the manner in which the Los Angeles media went about reporting the story of Christopher Dorner. We chose to investigate whether or not the media had a selection bias in using still photographs of Dorner. To do so, we chose two news channels, KNBC and KTTV Fox, and examined all footage related to Dorner for the 17-day period between the first and seventeenth of February, UTC. Footage was taken from the Edge Search Engine, by searching the closed captioning for the keyword "Dorner." Once a show had been identified as mentioning Dorner, the show was checked to locate any other uses of a photograph of Dorner unaccompanied by his name in the closed captioning. The name and date of each show was recorded, and the duration of each use of a picture of Dorner was recorded. Each unique still photograph of Dorner was tracked separately.
     These data were graphed and analyzed to detect trends. Our finding was that there was indeed a selection bias, at least on KNBC, the only news channel we had sufficient time to analyze. Of the photographs available to KNBC that show Dorner's face, he is smiling in 70%; but he is smiling in fewer than 50% of those photographs KNBC used. Even more drastically, counting only photographs in which Dorner's mouth is visible, KNBC shows him smiling only 15% of the total amount of time that a photograph of Dorner is displayed onscreen.

At Work in the Red Hen Lab

Examples of videoconference research meetings to work on the project. Participants in three different locations.
For full screen, first play the clip by clicking on the triangular icon in the middle of the screen, and then click the icon in the lower right corner that consists of four arrows pointing at the four corners of the square.

Presentation Day

Brief clip from the public presentation on Senior Project Day, Shaker Heights High School, June 2013

Data and Analysis