Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication

First Advisor

David W. Bulla


This study aims to determine the frames used during the South Dakota news media coverage of the Elijah Page death penalty case and detect patterns of frame usage, valence of news coverage and source usage. A content analysis of 163 South Dakota news reports from three years of news media coverage was conducted. The study found that the procedural frame was used most often in the South Dakota news media coverage of the Elijah Page death penalty case, followed by the morality frame and then the distributive justice frame. The media used, whether newspaper or television broadcast, did not significantly affect the frame usage. The frames used, however, did differ by year of coverage. The valence of coverage was found to be mostly neutral, with increases in positive and negative valence as the death penalty case entered its last year of coverage. Analysis of the source usage during the death penalty coverage of the Elijah Page case found that there was overreliance on official sources, such as state elected officials and law enforcement. Trends in source use also revealed that the frames shifted depending on the source cited in the news media coverage. This study concludes that while coverage was overall neutral and objective, the overreliance of one source over another may have affected the framing of the news media coverage of the Elijah Page case in South Dakota. Overall, the findings support claims that the sources cited in media coverage can affect the framing of the news report.


Copyright Owner

Heather Rexanne Haley



Date Available


File Format


File Size

49 pages

Included in

Communication Commons