Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Larry Winn, Carl Kell, Randall Capps

Degree Program

Department of Communication

Degree Type

Master of Arts


This thesis examines the television reporters' verbal depictions of two rescue events, the rescue of Jessica McClure in 1987 and the rescue of three whales at Pt. Barrow, Alaska in 1988, in order to discover what rhetorical techniques were used to appeal to the public interest. Analog criticism, metaphorical analysis and pentadic analysis were used to discover the dominant language reporters chose. Three main conclusions were drawn from this analysis: (1) use of the dramatistic pentad showed how reporters focused public attention away from the purpose,(2) verbal and visual depictions cannot be separated when studying television news stories and (3) two different styles of depiction were used to portray two very similar events.


Broadcast and Video Studies | Communication | Journalism Studies | Mass Communication | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Influence and Political Communication | Speech and Rhetorical Studies