Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor's Name

Luke Thominet

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Vanessa Sohan

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Nathaniel Cadle

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


writing and rhetoric, composition, protest, rhetoric, visual rhetorics, affect theory, black lives matter, protest images, protest imagery

Date of Defense



The purpose of this thesis is to examine the characteristics of images that are most prevalent in news media coverage of the George Floyd Protests during 2020. To do so, I have examined gallery images from nine different news source which cover the gamut of the entire political spectrum.

Through my research, it was determined that the characteristics found in the images correlated greatly with the political leanings of the publication, with right-wing publications far more likely to depict scenes of meaningless violence, and left-wing publications far more likely to show linguistic messaging and images of group solidarity.

In conclusion, my research shows that affective responses to visual stimuli greatly determines whether an image circulates on a particular news media publication, and suggests way social justice activists can use affect and visual rhetorics to spread their message.





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