Emileigh Barnes, Independent Scholar & Frank Durham, University of Iowa
Gender, leadership, and crisis: A framing analysis of Sally Mason’s presidency of the University of Iowa
This textual analysis of a gendered media framing process addresses news coverage of Sally Mason, who was inaugurated as president of the University of Iowa in 2007. The coverage analyzed here focuses on two crises which Mason faced shortly after taking office: The alleged multiple sexual assault in 2007 of a female student-athlete by two male student-athletes and the flooding of the Iowa campus in 2008. In examining the related news texts of the city’s principal newspaper, the Press-Citizen, the authors have engaged in a critical inquiry into the ways in which reportorial routines reproduce the cultural-historical themes of patriarchy. Their analysis of the divergent directions of these two frames assigned to Mason and her leadership style— one negative in the sexual assault case and one positive in the later flood— are explained based on Reese’s (2008) framing process model of reification, transmission, and naturalization.