Academic Articles

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Healthy Depictions? Depicting Adoption and Adoption News Events on Broadcast News

Kline, Susan L.; Chatterjee, Karishma; Karel, Amanda I.

2009

Given that the public uses the media to learn about adoption as a family form, this study analyzes U.S. television news coverage of adoption between 2001 and 2005 (N = 309 stories), to identify the types of news events covered about adoption. A majority of news stories covered fraud, crime, legal disputes, and negative international adoption cases. Adoptees as defective or unhealthy were depicted more in negative news event stories, birth parents appeared less overall, and adoptive parents were most likely to have healthy depictions in positively oriented adoption experience, big family, and reunion stories. Although three quarters of the stories used primary adoption participants as news sources, one-third of the negative event stories did not contain healthy depictions of adoption participants. The authors discuss ways journalists and researchers might improve adoption news coverage.