Senior journalism major Rhayn Abner took her place at the head of the classroom in Marsh 206 on Senior Projects Day, and in front of a crowd of teachers and peers and condensed more than a years worth of information and research into a single twenty minute presentation on the media and writing styles of two different countries.
Abner’s presentation entitled the “Definition of ‘Truth’: How U.S. Journalism and Irish Journalism Differ in their News Coverage,” focused on the similarities and differences between American and Irish media.
Abner explained how the idea for her project came to her when studying abroad in Ireland.
“Studying abroad in Ireland started off the whole project,” said Abner. “I was able to observe the Irish journalistic style, and observed what events were important to them by what they decided to focus on and cover in the media.”
For her senior thesis project, Abner compared the viewpoints and style of an American newspaper publication, “The New York Times”, and an Irish newspaper publication, “The Irish Times”.
Abner then chose to look at how each publication covered specific events and happenings, including the publication’s views and depictions of terrorism, same-sex marriage and immigration.
Going through each newspaper and hundreds of different articles from each was no easy task for Abner, who identified the framing of the dozens of articles from the two different news sources and attempting to understand what each source was really saying as one of the most challenging parts of her project.
However, Abner explained that she was pleased with what she had learned from the project and presented her major findings and discoveries in her presentation.
Abner explained that both newspapers were greatly affected by the location of an event for deciding newsworthiness, that political stances are less hidden in Ireland than in America, that the audience the newspaper were reaching to affected its tone and that public opinion is of major importance for both of the two papers.
Although her senior thesis project journey is far from over, still having to turn in the written portions for both her journalism major and creative writing major, Abner is excited for the future and plans to attend graduate school after taking a gap year to discover what she wants to do for a career in the future.