The Poverty of News Discourse: The news coverage of poverty in New Zealand
Thesis DisciplineMass Communication
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis uses methods of discourse analysis to examine the news coverage of poverty in New Zealand. It seeks to find the extent to which dominant discourses, those that reinforce the dominant order, are reproduced and become hegemonic in the coverage of poverty. The use of news sources and their effect on poverty coverage, as well as the news' assumption of shared values are also examined. This thesis argues that through such processes news coverage reproduces dominant discourses that elide the extent to which poverty can be seen as an important and problematic social issue in New Zealand. This thesis analyses a range of New Zealand news texts about poverty. It looks at the press coverage of a Unicef announcement about child poverty in 2005. It also includes an analysis of news stories that refer to poverty, the poor and issues of welfare over a month in 2005. The final chapter of research analyses two television documentaries, The Streetkids and Life on the Streets, that are about aspects of homelessness in New Zealand. This study finds the reporting of poverty in New Zealand to be inadequate, containing debate over poverty and reproducing the hegemony of dominant discourses.