Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Gloucester 18 Effect: The Media's "Pregnancy Pact" with the Devil of Sensationalism
by Davis, Katharine, M.A., The American University of Paris (France), 2011, 129; 10305725
Abstract (Summary)

Media sensationalism has a permanent place in mass media and the news stories it magnifies. This study explores the political climate of 2008 in the United States and how events from the year brought the issue of teen sexuality to the national spotlight. On 18 June 2008, Time magazine reported a “pregnancy pact” of 18 girls from Gloucester High School in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The word “pact”, misused by the principal, created a media firestorm that attracted media attention from all over the world. The analysis of various mediums of the event of the Gloucester Pregnancy Pact pulls together key elements to showcase a story and a town that was collateral damage of media sensationalism. Teen pregnancy was on the media's radar in 2008 and this story was sensationalized and brought to the forefront the issue of teen sexuality in the United States. This thesis addresses several themes in regards to how the media can sensationalize a word or event and prevent the public from addressing the real issue at hand. Finally, the reported pregnancy pact and the media's depiction of it was an ideal example of how the media sensationalizes stories, interviews and statistics in order to generate public attention. Media sensationalism also has consequences that affect the subjects involved, and also impacts public spheres that deserve to have accurate stories presented to them in order to create an informed and educated society. Unfortunately, significant evidence shows that the media exploited the case of the “Gloucester 18”; and to do so was not to educate citizens but to sell more copy and air time.

Keywords: Media sensationalism, pact, Gloucester 18, teen pregnancy, public sphere

Indexing (document details)
Advisor:
Commitee:
School: The American University of Paris (France)
Department: Global Communications and Civil Society
School Location: France
Source: MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Mass communications
Keywords: Adolescent pregnancy, Gloucester 18, Massachusetts, Media sensationalism
Publication Number: 10305725
ISBN: 9781369492897
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