Children without a Country: Media Coverage of Undocumented Children in the United States

By Cari Lee Skogberg Eastman and Shu-Ling Chen Berggreen.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

As forces of globalization have dissolved trade barriers in the Americas, they have simultaneously inspired a flow of human labor toward the Mexico/U.S. border. Hundreds of thousands of citizens of impoverished countries who seek sustainable wages have crossed without authorization into the United States, often taking family members with them. As the U.S. public debates the consequences of such movement and potential strategies for how to address this flow of unauthorized migrants, the needs and voices of one specific population often go unheard. Children brought illegally into the United States face great dangers, both when they are smuggled across the border and later as they adapt to life in a country to which they do not legally belong. Yet the challenges they face are rarely addressed in media or in the resulting public discourse. This project aims to address the ways in which print media in Arizona, currently ‘ground zero’ of the immigration debate, approach the unique issues related to children without legal status. Through interviews with media professionals and analysis of media coverage of issues related to undocumented children, this study examines the ethical, social and political implications of how such children are represented through media to a national public. Emphasis is placed on the effectiveness of media in educating the public about needs specific to these “children without a country.”

Keywords: Media, Children, Immigration

Global Studies Journal, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.11-20. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 607.219KB).

Dr. Cari Lee Skogberg Eastman

Ph.D. Student, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA

Cari Lee Skogberg Eastman earned her Ph.D. from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Colorado, Boulder in May 2008. Her studies focused largely on development communication, earning her a Graduate Interdisciplinary Certificate in Development Studies. In addition, she concentrated on issues of media and civil society, particularly in relation to the immigration debate. She is currently an independent researcher working on a book about media, civil society and immigration issues. Prior to beginning her Ph.D. program in Boulder, Cari taught Spanish for five years in the Spearfish, SD public school system, one year at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, and two years at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD. She earned her Master’s Degree in the Teaching of Spanish as a Foreign Language from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain. In addition, she earned the DELE Superior diploma in Spanish from Spain’s Ministry of Education and Culture and she is a National Board Certified Teacher (World Languages Other Than English).

Dr. Shu-Ling Chen Berggreen

Associate Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA

Dr. Shu-Ling Chen Berggreen is an Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee with emphases in broadcasting, media and socialization, child and family studies and applied statistics. Her research interests lie in mass media and socialization (especially, children and the media) in multicultural contexts, international/intercultural communication, theoretical and methodological issues in communication research. Her primary teaching areas are mass media and culture, children and the media, international communication, Asian media, media and ethnicity, theories, qualitative research methods and quantitative research methods.

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