Becoming American: Constructing Mexican Immigrants in Local Newspapers

Zheng Zhu


Media representation of Latino immigrants has been extensively studied by scholars across diverse academic disciplines. Particular to the U.S. context, preceding scholarships pertaining to the ways in which Latinos were represented centered on the media representation of Latino immigrants either as the exotic racial other or undesirable foreigners. In light of the important role that the Mexican immigrants played in understanding the current national debate on illegal immigration and the overall historical experiences of immigrants in Washington State (WA), this study critically investigated how news articles published in WA represented Mexican immigrants. As a crucial point of departure from prior studies’ focus on media representation in national context and lack of an in-depth inquiry into how the contextual elements operate to affect media coverage, the present study revealed that the local news media constructed Mexican immigrants as the racial other through a dialectical articulation and the assimilationist rhetoric. Key implications for future research were offered at the end for continuing exploration of media representation of immigrants.

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Studies in Media and Communication      ISSN 2325-8071 (Print)   ISSN 2325-808X (Online)

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