News media play an important role in presenting issues and themes central to art controversies. Evidence suggests that media frame issues, use agenda setting techniques, and increase coverage on art controversies. Using the Brooklyn Museum and Mapplethorpe controversies, this study sought to understand why the events became newsworthy, what frames were used, and what differences were present in the news stories. News articles related to the controversies published between January 1, 1987 and December 31, 2006 in the New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Columbus Dispatch were content analyzed to measure prominence of theme, presentation of issues, frequency of news coverage, and reported causes. Comparisons made across the publications and time revealed significant differences in the portrayals.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Journalism--Social aspects; Journalism--Objectivity; Mass media--Social aspects; Mass media--Objectivity; Mapplethorpe, Robert--Press coverage; Sensation (Exhibition)--Press coverage

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Department of Communication (CLA)


Austin, Bruce

Advisor/Committee Member

Pugliese, Rudy

Advisor/Committee Member

Steinberg, Loret


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: PN4749 .H65 2007


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