First Advisor

L. David Ritchie

Date of Publication

Winter 3-15-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Communication






War photography -- Social aspects -- Iraq -- 21st century, War -- Press coverage -- United States -- Case studies, Photojournalism -- Social aspects -- United States -- Case studies, Iraq War (2003-2011) -- Mass media and the war -- Case studies, Frames (Sociology)



Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 127 pages)


This study reports the findings of a systematic visual content analysis of 356 randomly sampled images published about the Iraq War in Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report from 2003-2009. In comparison to a 1995 Gulf War study, published images in all three newsmagazines continued to be U.S.-centric, with the highest content frequencies reflected in the categories U.S. troops on combat patrol, Iraqi civilians, and U.S. political leaders respectively. These content categories do not resemble the results of the Gulf War study in which armaments garnered the largest share of the images with 23%. This study concludes that embedding photojournalists, in addition to media economics, governance, and the media-organizational culture, restricted an accurate representation of the Iraq War and its consequences. Embedding allowed more access to both troops and civilians than the journalistic pool system of the Gulf War, which stationed the majority of journalists in Saudi Arabia and allowed only a few journalists into Iraq with the understanding they would share information. However, the perceived opportunity by journalists to more thoroughly cover the war through the policy of embedding was not realized to the extent they had hoped for. The embed protocols acted more as an indirect form of censorship.


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