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CODE^SHIFT team publishes research article on news framing of Indigenous people in Brazil

By Nicole Cheah, Digital Journalism Undergraduate | June 26, 2024

The Yanomami paper was authored by CODE^SHIFT team members Raiana de Carvalho and Dr. Martina Santia; as well as lab director Dr. Srividya Ramasubramanian.

CODE^SHIFT is excited to announce that the paper, "Framing the Yanomami: decolonial analysis of U.S coverage of Indigenous people in Brazil during COVID-19," was published in the Ethnic and Racial Studies (ERS) journal on June 12, 2024.

The paper was authored by CODE^SHIFT team members Raiana de Carvalho and Dr. Martina Santia; as well as lab director Dr. Srividya Ramasubramanian. Its publication marks the first paper fully developed within the CODE^SHIFT team and Newhouse, without external collaboration. 

The ERS is a prominent international social science journal which publishes analyses on race, racism, ethnicity, migration and forms of ethno-nationalism.

The study used a decolonial lens to investigate how U.S. news outlets, specifically the New York Times (NYT) and the Associated Press (AP), framed the Yanomami people — an Indigenous group in Brazil — during the COVID-19 pandemic. It discusses four frames that the team identified from 32 news stories: victimization and vulnerability, illegal mining and policing, environmental impact, and Indigenous sovereignty.

“As someone with a research agenda focused on minoritized groups from Latin America, publishing a paper examining matters affecting an Indigenous community in Brazil was extremely important for me. But the importance of this paper goes beyond that. The paper discusses how news media conglomerates from the Global North can continue to oppress minoritized groups from the Global South, particularly through the ways they frame and represent issues affecting those communities. The paper also follows the steps of recent scholarship concerned with critiquing mainstream media representations of Indigenous communities and, as such, can help to strengthen this area of study. Uncovering how our current patterns of news representation and framing can either further marginalize or uplift communities that have historically been oppressed should be a continuous and concerted scholarly effort.” 

- Raiana de Carvalho

Both de Carvalho and Dr. Santia said the collaborative aspect of the paper was the highlight of the process for them. 

“I learned so much from their expertise and I look forward to many future collaborations,” said Dr. Santia said, speaking of de Carvalho and Dr. Ramasubramanian. 

De Carvalho said, “They are not just incredible scholars, but true mentors who have enriched my understanding of research and theories in mass communications. As the more junior scholar among them, I felt privileged to work with them and deeply moved by their unwavering support and dedication to this work.”

Poster by Raiana de Carvalho

“I am extremely proud of this publication,” said Dr. Santia, “and I am confident that it will be well received by other academics doing work in this field.

She also expressed her hope that the paper would bring attention to the struggles faced by the Yanomami people, as well as inform best practices for covering Indigenous groups and their concerns. 

Echoing Dr. Santia’s sentiment, de Carvalho hopes that the paper would increase the visibility of the Yanomami people and other Indigenous communities, which have been incredibly resilient and politically active in response to historical forms of oppression. 

“I also hope this work contributes to and adds to the rich scholarship in media and communication concerned with improving how we frame and represent Indigenous groups in legacy news media,” she said. 

The paper can be accessed online here.


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