Date of Award


Degree Name



W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Harold Shaver

Second Advisor

Corley Dennison

Third Advisor

Ralph Turner


In the 1998 general election, Marie Redd became the first African American elected to the state senate in West Virginia. In the 5th District Senate race for her seat in the Legislature, Redd overcame the influence of opponent Tom Scott's incumbency, as well as his race and gender. Then, in the 2002 primary election, the freshman senator lost her seat to Evan Jenkins, also a caucasian male and a former member of the West Virginia House of Delegates. Previous research has shown that media treat candidates differently according to their race and gender and researchers have indicated the need for more studies in the areas of gender, race and politics. This content analysis of coverage of the West Virginia general election in 1998 and primary election in 2002 investigates the differences in coverage of the African American female candidate and the caucasian male candidates in the state's two largest newspapers, The Herald Dispatch and The Charleston Gazette. This study focuses on the amount of coverage, the tone of stories, the placement of stories, and references to candidates' race, gender, and occupation.


African-Americans - Politics and government


Women in media


Press and politics