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Article 1

 

 Carolyn Byerly

 

Carolyn M. Byerly, Ph.D.

Department of Journalism

Howard University, Washington, DC   

                     

 Marcus Hill

 

Marcus Hill

Doctoral Student

Graduate Program in Mass Communication and Media Studies

Howard University, Washington, DC

 

Reformulation Theory: Gauging Feminist Impact on News of Violence Against Women

 

Abstract

 

The communication of feminist ideas, political agendas, and achievements through the agency of women’s media activism has received scant attention from feminist scholars.  And yet feminist communication has had measurable impact on the social fabric in the both the United States and other societies these last decades.  This article argues for the building of new radical feminist theory to investigate the impacts of women’s liberation on news coverage in the United States.  Based on emerging data from an ongoing study of news coverage of violence against women, the authors pose Reformulation Theory to explain how new analyses of sexual and domestic violence in the 1970s reframed news in the New York Times, as demonstrated in the indexing of news stories.  Their study examined key terms used in indexing stories over a 40-year period to show when feminist terminology began to replace previous terms defining sexual and other violence against women and children, thereby bringing a new analysis of these problems into public discourse and playing a role in reshaping gender relations.