UC Irvine Student Council’s Flag Ban Vetoed

Here are the facts: Six undergraduates in University of Carolina, Irvine’s student government prompted a vote, 6-4 by the school’s Associated Students council, to ban the hanging of national flags, including the American flag, from a student area on campus. The vote was overturned by the council’s executive office to embody the university’s pride.

This top Facebook trending story was covered by various media networks FOX News and Los Angeles Times as well as from the San Francisco Chronicle blogosphere. How did their coverage differ?

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The story was initially reported by an opinion article by FOXNews.com, which was published on March 7. the article content is similar in each publication, aside from the glaring subjective language. For example, Todd Starnes, host of Fox News and Commentary, states the student voters were “six unAmerican students, four patriots and two individuals who could have a career in House Republican leadership.”

Each publication included the basic who, what, when, where and why of the story. Also the publications use similar sources including the Associated Students council and its president, Reza Zomorrodian. FOX News uses an unnamed spokesperson as a source. Nicole Knight Shine, a Los Angeles Times reporter, spoke to a man-on-the-street source, Daniel La, UC Irvine junior.

11009349_10153580652955995_7298753029699196712_nA day later the FOX News’ Starnes reported on the bans reversal. FOX News was not the only publication to follow provisional news — Los Angeles Times also reported on the ban and the veto. The San Francisco Chronicle did not follow up on the story.

The Los Angeles Times had the more in-depth follow-up story. LATimes reporter Knight includes a video of local KTLA news network broadcast by Chris Wolfe in her story giving real-time, on-the-scene perspective.

The story when searched was found by keywords in the headline, and by the tags, in order of size of news agency: first was FOX News, followed by the Los Angeles Times and finally the San Francisco Chronicle. All three publications used keywords like “American flag,” “ban” and “UCI” or “UC Irvine.” Each publication used similar generic photos of American flags.

The social media presence also followed a similar pattern greatest number of shares, likes or retweets by the size of the publication on a national level.

Photo Credit: UC Irvine

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