ERIC Number: ED204763
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Aug
Life in Black and White: Coverage of Black America by "Life" Magazine, 1937-1972.
Sentman, Mary Alice
A content analysis of selected issues of "Life" magazine was conducted to explore the way in which that magazine portrayed the black community in the United States. All 52 issues within each of eight years (1937, 1942, 1947, 1952, 1957, 1962, 1967, and 1972) were analyzed. Beyond tabulation of frequency and amount of coverage, each instance of black coverage was placed in categories reflecting the dominant themes of crime, entertainment, sports, social commentary, everyday life, news events, a prominent person being honored, advertising, and cover appearance or illustration. Coverage of blacks failed to develop over time, varying markedly according to the dictates of the relevance of individual news incidents or achievements for the broader American society. Everyday life remained a consistently low proportion of the total black coverage, which itself never was more than three percent of the magazine's total content. It appeared that coverage that fell into the social commentary, crime, and everyday categories was focused on blacks more as members of their race, while coverage that fell into the entertainment and sports categories was focused as much on their roles. Of the already small share of coverage of blacks, all but a few pages highlighted black Americans who had achieved prominence in the areas of politics, entertainment, sports, or protest activities. (Author/RL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism (64th, East Lansing, MI, August 8-11, 1981).