Media Coverage of the Baltimore Unrest in the Op-Ed of “The New York Times”: A Case Study


  • Nashwa Elyamany Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT), Smart Village, Egypt


Newspaper Op-Ed articles are an important form of intellectual debate that communicate views on public policy matters and help shape public opinion. They are challenging, information-rich and persuasive short media texts imbued with worldviews, arguments, sarcasms and biases, hence providing salience cues regarding key national and international affairs. Recent police killings of citizens in the US have attracted mass coverage in the media, predominantly in the Op-Ed section of The New York Times in 2015. Informed by Critical Discourse Analysis, this case study is a multi-layered qualitative analysis of the Baltimore unrest media coverage, particularly in one article authored by a guest contributor in The New York Times. To identify how the nation-wide case of the Baltimore unrest is rhetorically represented in media discourse, the study is premised on Appraisal Theory and Conceptual Metaphor Theory. The paper aims to: first, pinpoint the inherent appraisal resources used by the author to frame his argument and dialogically position the intended audiences in (dis)alignment with his worldviews; second, showcase the metaphoric repertoire that serves his ideological stance.


appraisal, attitude, conceptual metaphor, engagement, graduation


BLANCO, M. P. (2011). “The language of evaluation in English and Spanish editorials: A corpus-based study”. In: S. GO?D?-ROSZKOWSKI (Ed.). Explorations across languages and corpora. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 207-225.

BOUGHER, L.D. (2012). “The case for metaphor in political reasoning and cognition”. Political Psychology, 33 (1), 145-163.

FAIRCLOUGH, N. (2013). Critical Discourse Analysis: The Critical Study of Language. London: Routledge.

GOLAN, G. J. (2010). “Editorials, Op-ed Columns Frame Medical Marijuana Debate”. Newspaper Research Journal, 31 (3), 50-61.

GOLAN, G. J. (2013). “The Gates of Op-Ed Diplomacy: Newspaper Framing the 2011 Egyptian Revolution”. International Communication Gazette, 75 (4), 359-373.

JEGEDE, O. O. (2015). Language and ideology in the media: A study of Nigerian newspaper editorials. International Journal of English, Literature and Culture, 3 (3), 76-84.

KLINGER, D. (2012). “On the problems and promise of research on lethal police violence: A research note”. Homicide Studies, 16 (1), 78-96.

LAKOFF, G. and JOHNSON, M. (2003). Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

LAWAL, O. A. (2015). “Pragmatics of truth and modality in newspaper editorials: An example of the Punch and the Tribune”. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 5 (4), 688-693.

LEGEWIE, J. and FAGAN, J. (2016). Group threat, police officer diversity, and the deadly use of police force (Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 14-512).

MARTIN, J. R. and WHITE, P. R. R. (2007). Language of Evaluation: Appraisal in English. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

MORLEY, J. (2009). “Lexical cohesion and rhetorical structure”. In: J. FLOWERDEW and M. MAHLBERG (Eds.). Lexical cohesion and corpus linguistics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 5-22.

NIX, J. and PICKETT, G. T. (2017). “Third-person perceptions, hostile media effects, and policing: Developing a theoretical framework for assessing the Ferguson effect”. Journal of Criminal Justice, 51, 24-33.

PORPORA, D. V. and NIKOLAEV, A. (2008). “Moral Muting in US Newspaper Op-eds Debating the Attack on Iraq”. Discourse and Communication, 2 (2), 165-184.

PYROOZ, D. C., DECKER, S. H., WOLFE, S. E. and SHJARBACK, J. A. (2016). “Was there a Ferguson Effect on crime rates in large U.S. cities?”. Journal of Criminal Justice, 46, 1-8.

SUNDAR, S. (1998). Effect of source attribution on perception of online news stories. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 75 (1), 55-68.

VAN DIJK, T. A. (1988). News as Discourse. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

VAN DIJK, T. A. (1993). Elite Discourse and Racism. London: Sage.

VAN DIJK, T. A. (2006). “Ideology and discourse analysis.” Journal of Political Ideologies, 11 (2), 115-140.

VAN DIJK, T. A. (2015). “Critical discourse analysis.” In: TANNEN, D.; HAMILTON, H. and SCHIFFRIN, D. (Eds.). The Handbook of Discourse Analysis. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Son, 466-485.

VESTERGAARD, T. (2000a). “From genre to sentence: The leading article and its linguistic realization”. In: F. UNGERER (Ed.). English media texts: Past and present. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 151-175.

VESTERGAARD, T. (2000b). “That’s not news: Persuasive and expository genres in the press”. In: TROSBERG, A. (Ed.). Analyzing professional genres. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 97-113.

WEGNER, Y. (2015). “Unrest will cost city $20 million, officials estimate”. The Baltimore Sun. May 26.

WEITZER, R. (2015). “American policing under fire: Misconduct and reform”. Society, 52 (5), 475-480.

WHITE, P. R. (2006). “Evaluative semantics and ideological positioning in journalistic discourse: A new framework for analysis”. In: LASSEN, I.; STRUNEK, J. and VESTERGAARD, T. (Eds.). Mediating Ideology in Text and Image: Ten Critical Studies. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 37-67.

ZARZA, S. and TAN, H. (2016). “Patterns of schematic structure and strategic features in newspaper editorials: A comparative study of American and Malaysian editorials”. Discourse and Communication, 10 (6), 635-657.

Author Biography

Nashwa Elyamany, Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT), Smart Village, Egypt

An experienced assistant professor in EFL/ESP instruction/program coordination and a certified IELTS speaking examiner with a proven track record of academic achievements, professional development, leadership, intercultural communication skills and work proficiency. Interested in interdisciplinary research in culture studies, gender studies, new media, pragmatics, stylistics, cognitive linguistics, multimodal discourse analysis, language assessment, teacher training, Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL), Mobile Learning and English for Specific Purposes (ESP) in light of solid background, extensive coursework and specialization in TEFL/TESOL and applied linguistics.




Download data is not yet available.