Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


School of Journalism and Mass Communications

First Advisor

Kathy Roberts Forde

Second Advisor

Sei-Hill Kim


A purpose of the study was to analyze the construction of reality around the Georgian media democratization movement in 2010-12. The qualitative analysis of movement statements (n=17) and in-depth interviews with movement activists (n=12) found that the movement relied on mobilizing master frames linked to the concept of democracy: free speech, access to information, fair elections, transparency, plurality, and devised an innovative frame, it concerns you. The movement pursued two goals with its framing efforts: improvements in the media environment and mobilization of citizen participation.

The quantitative analysis of news stories about the movement (n=552) by six pro-opposition, pro-government, and independent news organizations found that the news organizations used movement-advanced frames, and, in general, used more mobilizing than demobilizing frames. The marginalization of the movement, a dominant mode of news coverage of social movements based on the literature, did not occur. However, the study found differences in coverage based on news organizations’ ties with the government and the opposition, or lack thereof. The pro-opposition and independent TV stations covered the movement more frequently, aired reports at better viewing times, gave greater voice to the activists and their key frame, it concerns you, and used more mobilizing frames (the pro-opposition station), than the pro-government TV. The pro-opposition newspaper used a more positive tone and lengthier stories, and the independent newspaper more frequent coverage, than the pro-government newspaper. However, the pro-government newspaper featured the coverage more prominently and used activists’ key frame more often. Both pro-government news organizations used government sources more often, than other media, and focused on those movement issues that were eventually endorsed by the government.

In-depth interviews with news journalists (n=5) in these news organizations found that journalists in the pro-opposition and independent media supported movement issues, engaged in supportive reporting, and approved of advocacy journalism when press freedoms were in danger. Journalists in pro-government media supported most of the movement’s demands, but were suspicious of political motives behind movement activism (the movement mobilized ahead of the Parliamentary Elections 2012) and did not engage in and disapproved of advocacy journalism.

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Communication Commons