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Tania Heather Cantrell
The Dissertation Committee for Tania Heather Cantrell
certifies that this is the approved version of the following dissertation:
How Do News Issues Help Frame Telenovela Plots?
A Framing Analysis of Brazilian Print National Press and
TV Globo’s 8 p.m. Telenovela Duas Caras [Two Faced/s]
Stephen D. Reese, Co-Supervisor ____________________________________
Joseph D. Straubhaar, Co-Supervisor ____________________________________
Renita Coleman ____________________________________
Dustin Harp ____________________________________
América Rodríguez How Do News Issues Help Frame Telenovela Plots?
A Framing Analysis of Brazilian Print National Press and TV Globo’s 8 p.m. Telenovela Duas Caras [Two Faced/s] by Tania Heather Cantrell, B.A.; M.A.
Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of The University of Texas at Austin in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy The University of Texas at Austin December 2009 Dedication For my father, who has always cheered my dreams.
For my mother, who has given me the determination by nature.
For my husband, who has joined me in the journey, supporting and enriching this finish.
Acknowledgments My journey has been anything but singular. I wish to thank: my co-supervisors, Dr. Joe Straubhaar, for the decade-long fascination with and plunge into Brazilian media and culture, among many experiences, chats, connections and years of mentoring, and Dr.
Steve Reese, for his strong guidance from my first semester at UT onward. I also express deep gratitude to each of my committee members for their immeasurable contributions toward completion of this project: Dr. Dustin Harp, for her stellar example and leadership from my investigation of UT as a possible graduate school forward; Dr. América Rodríguez, for her years of mentorship particularly regarding race and media along with her encouragement; and Dr. Renita Coleman, for her (theoretical) guidance among other expertises. I also give special thanks and appreciation to Dr. Mercedes Lynn De Uriarte, Dave Garlock and Dr. Maxwell McCombs for their guidance, care and important advice over the years.
I also wish to thank: Rosental Alves, who continues to enrich my understanding of and appreciation for Brazilian journalism and who with one email opened my access to TV Globo to get Duas Caras episodes; TV Globo’s Luis Erlanger and Globo Universidade’s Sílvia Fiuza and Viviane Tanner for their assistance and patience with
UT’s College of Communication Senior Media Support Technician Mark Rogers and tech geek — with all due respect — Drake Wilson, for figuring out how to record telenovela episodes off the Internet; the Benson Library workers, specifically Craig Schroer and all his helpers, who kindly assisted me with finding and photocopying news and other materials even while Google was trying to digitize much of the library’s offerings; and my Brazilian UT friends Vanessa de Macedo Higgins Joyce and Nilo Figur for their above-and-beyond attempts to help me get Duas Caras access.
I especially appreciate my husband, father, friends Connie Summers, Jaime Loke, Ingrid Bachmann and Dean Graber, and all the other angels in my life for all their love, patience and encouragement during this transition into academia.
This study examines how news issues help frame telenovela plots and compares how the print media and telenovelas frame several key social and political issues.
Secondary systematic sampling of the Brazilian leading daily newspaper O Jornal do Brasil and newsmagazine Veja/Veja-Rio from January 2007 to April 2008 generated 313 news stories along with 292 photos for analysis. A five-composite week sample of TV Globo’s 8 p.m. hit telenovela Duas Caras resulted in 31 episodes — including its premiere and finale — or a total of 1,051 scenes to explore. Applying framing theory (Reese, 2003) through a reciprocal and dynamic comparative narrative analysis (Berger, 2005; Berger, 1997) to this body of materials suggests the telenovela, compared to news, is a more progressive storyteller with regard to race, class and gender news issues. Salient latent news frames The Government is the family and Brazilian democracy is more social
emergent salient latent novela frames Family first, family forever and It’s not the position that rules, but the influence. For the first time in TV Globo’s history, an Afro-Brazilian is an 8 p.m. telenovela hero. In addition, Duas Caras highlights his successful municipal election campaign, right around the time municipal election campaigns in Brazil were gearing up and while U.S. citizens were considering then electing their first AfroAmerican president. Duas Caras also sanitizes favelas, or Brazilians shantytowns, contrasting the fictive locale of Portelinha against marginalized portrayals of favelas and their residents in the news. In a diversifying media environment where lines between fact and fiction are increasingly less apparent, Brazilian (alternative) news studies, such as social marketing themes in telenovelas, are critical measures of the state of media opening in Brazil (Porto, 2007). They also reveal from which source(s) Brazilians receive their news information, raising the question, Do telenovelas help frame news issues?
List of Charts & Models
1. Introduction & Study Rationale
a. Statement of the Problem
b. Telenovelas, Non-traditional News Sources and c. Proponents of Shared National Identity
d. Telenovela Duas Caras, or Two Faces/d
e. Duas Caras, News and Politics
f. This Study
2. Framing Theory Literature Review
a. Framing and Intertextuality
b. Framing, Hegemony and Worldview
3. Brazilian Media & Brazilian Telenovelas
a. TV Globo and Brazilian Television
1. Brazilian Telenovelas
2. The Power of Co-Authorship
3. Social Merchandising
4. “That which we pretend to be, we become”
5. Telenovela Identity and Sensemaking
6. (Inter)national Popularity
b. The State of Brazilian Journalism
1. The Brazilian Way of Thinking About Journalism, Then...............48
2. Turbulent Times & the Brazilian Press
3. The Brazilian Way of Thinking About Journalism, Now................50
4. Racial Democracy & Brazilian Favelas
a. Racial Democracy: Brazil’s Own Emperor’s Cloak
d. Affirmative Action: The Unveiling of the Emperor’s Cloak.................65 e. Brazilian Favelas
5. Research Questions, Media & Methods
a. RQ1: Does Duas Caras take framing cues from Brazilian print media?72 b. More on Race and Class
c. RQ2: When addressing the election, does Duas Caras take race and class framing cues from Brazilian print media?
d. The Media
e. The Sample
f. Definitions and Basic Rationale
g. The Method: Comparative Narrative Analysis
6. News Frames Models & News Frame I: Government is the family
a. Shelter: No place like home
b. Security: Keep us safe and deliver us
c. Health: If you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything.......106 d. Education: Please teach us
d. Corruption: No one is perfect, especially not the government............109
7. News Frames II: Brazilian Democracy is More Social than Racial
a. A Brief Note on Social Democracy
b. Race in Brazil: It matters if you’re black or white
1. The Eerie Absence of Race:
To be praised, or not to be praised
2. Doing their thing, or making trouble
c. Gender in Brazil: Women are on the way up
1. Rewards of Brazilian Beauty
2. Brazilian power’s feminine side
3. Best of all worlds
d. Class in Brazil: Money is only the beginning
1. Education opens doors
2. Careers provide impetus
3. The new middle class is the place to be
4. Treasures and treats abound
8. Telenovela Duas Caras and Telenovela Frame Models
a. Duas Caras Basic Storyline
b. Duas Caras Character Connections & Explanations
9. Telenovela Frame I: Family First, Family Forever
a. The (non)traditional family allows freedom and inculcates leadership
b. The modern family redefines group love
c. The ideal family is a safe and supplied haven, give or take a few peculiarities
d. The typical Brazilian family overcomes prejudice and redefines the nation-state Brazil
10. Telenovela Frame II: It’s Not the Position that Rules, But the Influence..................181 a. Will the true leader of Portelinha step forward: Misael Caó...............183 b. Black men can succeed
c. White men rule education through their influence
d. Race is personal, not political
11. Comparison & Discussion of Research Question 1 & Hypotheses
a. Salient Latent Frames Revisited
b. RQ1: Does Duas Caras take framing cues from Brazilian print media?
12. Comparison & Discussion of Research Question 2 & Hypotheses
a. RQ2: When addressing the election, does Duas Caras take race and class framing cues from Brazilian print media?
b. H2A: Duas Caras will be more likely to assign black characters to working class roles than will be reported in the Brazilian national press
c. H2B: Duas Caras will give more attention to the non-white candidate than the Brazilian national press will
d. H2C: Non-white candidates’ behavior will be portrayed more positively in Duas Caras than in the Brazilian national press.............246 e. H2D: Duas Caras will give more explicit attention to class than the print press.
f. H2E: Less-affluent candidates will be portrayed more positively in Duas Caras than in the Brazilian national press.
a. RQ1: Does Duas Caras take framing cues from Brazilian print media?
b. RQ2: When addressing the election, does Duas Caras take race and class framing cues from Brazilian print media?
c. Problems and qualifications
CHART 2: Newsmagazine Constructed Week
MODEL 1.1: News Frame I: The government is the family
MODEL 1.2: News Frame II: Brazilian democracy is more social than racial.
................99 CHART 3: Newspaper Photo Composition
CHART 4: Newsmagazine Photo Composition
CHART 5: Overall News Photo Composition
CHART 6: DUAS CARAS Main Family Relationships
CHART 7: DUAS CARAS Main Character Identifications & Descriptions..................144 MODEL 2.1: Telenovela Frame I: Family first, family forever
MODEL 2.2: Telenovela Frame II: It’s not the position that rules, but the influence.
...150 CHART 8: “The Government is the Family” News Frame Comparison
CHART 9: “Brazilian Democracy is More Social Than Racial” News Frame Comparison References
CHART 10: News-Novela Timing Comparison
CHART 11: Intertextual Political Race and Class Media Cues
CHART 12: Non-News Based Class References in Duas Caras
CHART 13: Truncated 1st Research Question Guiding Hypotheses & Summaries.......264 CHART 14: Truncated 2nd Research Question Guiding Hypotheses & Summaries.....266
A recent New York Times article (Dargis & Scott, 2009) claimed Hollywood prepared the United States for a black president. It reviewed movies with black male leads such as James Earl Jones and Morgan Freeman, suggesting strong, non-white men could not only head the greatest nation on earth, but also do a good job. Ultimately, the article suggests popular-culture fiction powerfully influences reality and, ultimately, voter behavior.
Although questions regarding the influence of popular-culture and media on reality may be entering the United States mainstream, nations such as Brazil, home to the world's tenth largest economy, have experimented with it for decades. For many years, the only way Brazilians living under a military dictatorship could get a sense for how things really were was to tune it to alternative news sources, including the telenovela (Straubhaar, Olsen & Nunes, 1993). Essentially, a telenovela is a televised mini-series, or a six-day-per-week, one-hour serial-drama program lasting anywhere from six to about eight months with a pronounced beginning, plot development from episode to episode, and definitive end. Over time, telenovelas have had substantial influence over the Brazilian way of life. Family sizes have decreased and divorce rates have increased as women even in the most remote areas have exercised greater autonomy based on the televised roles they have seen (Potter, Schmertmann & Cavenaghi, 2002; Kottack, 1990;
Chong & La Ferrara, 2009; La Ferrara, Chong & Duryea, 2008). In addition, social movements like that of the Movimento Sem Terra, or Landless Farmworkers’ Movement, has received positive media coverage in telenovelas, which was picked up by news media, although the attention does not necessarily encourage the goal of mobilization that the movement seeks to promote (Hammond, 2004). In effect, real life at least in Brazil has mirrored, or quite likely been influenced by, constructed fiction.