Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Teresa Bergman

First Committee Member

Gino Giannini

Second Committee Member

Qingwen Dong


The phenomenon surrounding news media’s power to alter group identity and group cohesion is something that rarely a point of focus in communication studies. In this study I worked with a local social movement group called Stockton Stands with Minneapolis. This group illustrated the importance of maintaining shared values. Utilizing relational Interviewing, SSWM members provided evidence showing the connection between news media and group success. News media has had a role in shaping group members’ understanding of SSWM and activism. SSWM has faced internal conflict as a result of negative news representation. SSWM is a relatively small and young (2 ½ years) group when compared to more established groups and movements (such as black lives matter and #MeToo), the impact of losing any amount of membership to news representation is important and deserves attention. Therefore, in this paper I argue researchers must go beyond the conventional protest paradigm and media effects research that has commonly only examined the impact of the outgroup. There is a need for a new area of focus within media effects and activist representation, one that examines the impact of news media through multiple lenses of analysis. I argue this area would benefit from incorporating theories and concepts across the communications studies discipline. Utilizing research from the fields of media effects, interpersonal communication, and organizational communication can bring new insights to already existing understandings of activism and activist success. To help lead the charge into this new area of focus; I introduce a new paradigm and research approach called social movement splintering.