Kat Gupta

Response and Responsibility: mainstream media and Lucy Meadows

Abstract

In March 2013, Lucy Meadows was found dead in her home. Meadows, a primary school teacher, was transitioning from male to female; the school announced her decision to return to work after the Christmas break as Miss Meadows. This was reported in the local press and quickly picked up by the national press. Her death prompted discussions of responsible media reporting, press freedom and the contributions of trans* people to society.

I collected two corpora of newspaper articles: one of articles mentioning Lucy Meadows and a larger one of general news articles. These corpora are used to identify keywords – words that occur more frequently in the Lucy Meadows texts than might be expected from examining the collection of general news texts.. The female pronouns she and her emerged as key; in this paper I look more closely using approaches drawn from corpus linguistics and critical discourse analysis (Baker, 2006; Barker et al 2008).

Biography

Kat Gupta is a corpus linguist based at the University of Nottingham, UK. Their PhD examined the media representation of the suffrage movement in The Times 1908-14, with particular focus on the ideologically convenient conflation of distinct suffrage identities. Kat’s research interests include corpus linguistics, critical discourse analysis, digital humanities, gender, queer theory, and issues of ideology and power.

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