Resource: Immigration and Language Threat in a Local Newspaper: A Case Study of Hazleton, Pennsylvania

By: Matthew D. Kobialka

January 1, 2012

University of Puerto Rico Repository

This research is a case study of immigration issues in Hazleton, Pennsylvania from 2005 – 2006 in the lead-up to the passage of the Illegal Immigration Relief Act by the city. Using reporting data from the local newspaper, the Hazleton Standard-Speaker, qualitative data from the city, such as crime, census, and school district data, and a discourse analysis of letters-to-the-editor, an analysis was made using the Social Amplification of Risk framework, Social Identity Theory, and Realistic Group Conflict Theory. The research questions sought to find what role may the Standard-Speaker have played in the formation of public opinion about the Illegal Immigration Relief Act and the Official English Ordinance (IIRA) of 2006 in Hazleton, PA, how the reporting in the Standard-Speaker compared to the quantitative data, and how immigrants and immigration were portrayed in articles from the Standard Speaker about crime, language issues, education, and letters to the editor. Results showed that the newspaper likely may have played a role in shaping public opinion, particularly by amplifying threats of crime, while minimizing threats pertaining to education.