Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor as framed by Spanish-language and English-language news media


  • Elizabeth Candello Arizona State University



As Latinas assume greater roles in U.S. politics and the judicial branch, are media depictions reflective of these new roles or do negative minority stereotypes persist? This study compared the frames used by The Miami Herald, an English-language newspaper and El Nuevo Herald, its Spanish-language counterpart, during Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination and confirmation as the first Hispanic associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. The study explored whether the stronger media identification of the Spanish language newspaper influenced the types of frames used to depict Sotomayor’s rise to the high court. This investigation found that El Nuevo Herald emphasized Sotomayor as a successful woman and pioneer. The Miami Herald highlighted the ideological themes of partisan politics. As a result, the greater cultural identification with the audience may avoid manifest negative stereotypes, but may exclude this audience from political and judicial discourse.


Bata, S.M. (2009, June). Estados Unidos se reinventa. El Neuvo Herald. Retrieved from

Baumgartner, F., & Jones, B. (1995). Agendas and instability in American politics. Chicago, Ill: The University of Chicago Press.

Bowden, M. (2009, October). The story behind the story. The Atlantic Online. Retrieved from: dia.story%20behind%20the%20story.pdf

Carpenter, S. (2010). A study of content diversity in online citizen journalism and online newspaper articles. New Media & Society, 12(7), 1064-1084.

Carpenter, S. (2007). U.S. elite and non-elite newspapers’ portrayal of the Iraq war: A comparison of frames and source use. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 84(4), 761-776.

Carveth, R., & Alverio, D. (1997). Network brownout 1997: The portrayal of Latinos in network television news. Washington, D.C.: National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the National Council of La Raza.

Center for the Advanced Study of Communities and Information (2011). Publication Venues. Retrieved from

Chong, D. & Druckman, J.N. (2007). Framing theory. Annual Review Political Science, 10, 103-26. doi: 10.1146/annurev.polisci.10.072805.103054

Corney, L. (2006). Minorities and network news: The role of race in source selection and story topic (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest. (3207450)

Correa, T. (2010). Framing Latinas: Hispanic women through the lenses of Spanish-language and English-language news media. Journalism, 11(4), 425-443. doi: 10.1177/1464884910367597

Descalzi, G. (2009, June 4). Dime que te duele y te dire que tienes. El Neuvo Herald. Retreieved from p_docid=128AFE1FA5DA3368&p_docnum=1&p_queryname=4

DeSipio, L. (2003). Latino viewing choices: Bilingual television viewers and the language choices they make. Retrieved from The Tomas Rivera Policy Institute website:

Doyle, M. & Lightman, D. (2009, July). Sotomayor picks up key endorsements. The Miami Herald. Retrieved from p_docid=129A828A768F29C0&p_docnum=1&p_queryname=7

Druckman, J. (2004). Political preference formation: Competition, deliberation, and the (ir)relevance of framing effects. The American Political Science Review, 98(4), 671-686.

Dulcan, E. (2006). A content analytic comparison of news frames in English- and Spanish-language newspapers (Unpublished master’s thesis). University of Missouri-Columbus, MO.

Elber, L. (2007). Study: TV night newscasts slight Latinos. Race, class, and gender in the United States. In M. Comaskey (Ed.), Race, class, and gender in the United States: An integrated study (pp. 320-323). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Entman, R.M., & Rojecki, A. (2000). The black image in the white mind: Media and race in America. Chicago, Ill: The University of Chicago Press.

Entman, R. (1993). Framing: Toward clarification of a fractured paradigm. Journal of Communication, 43(4), 51-58.

Everbach, T. (2011). A “wise Latina” and a son of immigrants: Comparing newspaper coverage of Sonia sotomayor and Samuel alito. Southwestern Mass Communication Journal, 26(2).

Fleras, A. (1995). Please adjust your set: Media and minorities in a multicultural society. In Communications in Canadian Society (4 th ed.). Toronto: Nelson Education.

Fountaine, S., & McGregor, J. (2002). Reconstructing gender for the 21 st century: News media framing of political women in New Zealand. Retrieved from: NZCWL/pdfs/JMcGregorSFountainePaper.pdf

Gans, H.J. (1979). Deciding what’s news: A study of CBS evening news, NBC Nightly News, Newsweek, and Time. New York: Vintage.

Gerbner, G., Gross, L., Morgan, M., & Signorielli, N. (1986). Living with television: The dynamics of the cultivation process. In J. Bryant & D. Zillmann (Eds.), Perspectives on Media Effects. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Goodman, E. (2009, June). Identity Politics: Point of View Depends on Personal Experience. The Miami Herald. Retrieved from: p_docid=128C7603D1EF1C38&p_docnum=1&p_queryname=14

Greenberg, B.S., & Brand, J. (1994). Minorities and the mass media: 1970s to 1990s. In J. Bryant & D. Zillmann (Eds.), Media effects: Advances in theory and research (pp. 273-314). New York, NY: Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Hall, A. (2000). The mass media, cultural identity and perceptions of national character. Gazette: International Journal for Communication Studies, 62(3-4), 231-248.

Hertog, J.K., & McLeod, D.M. (2001). A multiperspectival approach to framing analysis: A field guide. In S.D. Reese, H. Oscar, A. Mahwah (Eds.), Framing Public Life (pp. 139-161). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

ImpreMedia. (2011). ImpreMedia Publications. Retrieved from Johnson, M.A. (1997). Predicting news flow from Mexico. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 74(2), 315-330.

Kahn, K.F. and Goldenberg, E.N. (1991). Women candidates in the news: An examination of gender differences in U.S. Senate campaigns. Public Opinion Quarterly, 55, 180-199.

Kamalipour, Y.R. (1998). Cultural diversity and the U.S. media. In T. Carilli (Ed.), U.S. minorities and the news (pp. 3-22). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Lehrman, S. (2005). Study: News outlets ignore booming Latino population. Quill, 93(6), 49.

Lightman, D. (2009, July). Smooth pathway to Supreme Court Expected for Sotomayor. The Miami Herald. Retrieved from p_docid=12969BF8F2AEEE08&p_docnum=2&p_queryname=5

Marr, M. (2009, June). Sonia Sotomayor, The Movie: Who Would Star? The Miami Herald. Retrieved from p_docid=129A78E1B5D3CCE8&p_docnum=1&p_queryname=1

McCombs, M.E., & Shaw, D. (1972). The agenda setting function of the mass media. Public Opinion Quarterly, 36, 176-187.

Milian, A. (2009, June). Sonia Sotomayor y los republicanos en crisis. El Nuevo Herald. Retrieved from p_docid=128B68F88EF2D7E0&p_docnum=2&p_queryname=1

Mondotimes. (2011). La Opinion. Retrieved from FRAMING SONIA SOTOMAYOR

Mondotimes. (2011). Rumbo Houston. Retrieved from

Navarrete, L., & Kamasaki, C. (1994). Out of the picture: Hispanics in the media. Washington, DC: National Council of La Raza.

Owens, L.C. (2008). Network news: The role of race in source selection and story topic. The Howard Journal of Communications, 19, 355-370.

Pan, Z., and Kosicki, G.M. (1993). Framing analysis: An approach to news discourse. Political Communication, 10, 55-75. Proceedings of the Nineteenth Annual Symposium about Language and Society, Austin. Retrieved from

Razo, E. (2011, May). Reinforcing ideologies: The rhetorical strategies utilized by large scale media and Spanish-language media during the nomination of Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Symposium conducted at the meeting of Language and Society at the University of Texas at Austin, TX.

Reinhard, B. (2009, July). Crist Not Consistent on Judge Nominees. The Miami Herald. Retrieved from:

Rodriquez, A. (1999). Making Latino news: Race, language, class. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Scheufele, D. (1999). Framing as a theory of media effects. Journal of Communication, 49, 103-122.

Semetko, H.A., and Valkenburg, P.M. (2006). Framing European politics: A contact analysis of press and television news. Journal of Communication, 50(2), 93-109.

Seward, Z.M. (2009, February 17). Top 15 newspaper sites of 2008. Nieman Journalism Lab. Retrieved from

Subervi-Velez, F.A. (1999). The mass media and Latinos: Policy and research agendas for the next century. Aztlan, 24(2), 131-147.

Tuchman, G. (1978). The symbolic annihilation of women by the mass media. In G. Tuchman, A.K. Daniels, & J. Benet (Eds.), Hearth and home: Images of women in the mass media (pp. 3-38). New York: Oxford University Press.

Vargas, L. (2000). Gendering Latino news: An analysis of a local newspaper’s coverage of Latino current affairs. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 17(3), 261-293.

Vargas, L., & dePyssler, B. (1998). Using media literacy to explore stereotypes of Mexican immigrants. Social Education, 62(7), 407-12.

Valkenburg, P.M., Semetko, H.A., & de Vreese, C.H. (1999). The effects of news frames on readers’ thoughts and recall. Communications Research, 26, 550-569.

Weaver, D., Lively, E., & Bimber, B. (2009). Searching for a frame: News media tell the story of technological progress, risk, and regulation. Science Communication, 31, 139.

Witt, L., Paget, K.M., & Matthews, G. (1994). Running as a woman: Gender and power in American politics. New York: The Free Press.

Zaller, J. (1992). The nature and origins of mass opinion. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.