Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Political Science

Degree Program

Political Science, MA

Committee Chair

Abbott, Jason

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Bunck, Julie

Committee Member

Bunck, Julie

Committee Member

Ehrick, Christine

Author's Keywords

politics; press freedom; media; Latin America; Venezuela; Costa Rica


Freedom of the press is a hallmark of liberal democracy. Denying this civil liberty emboldens a government to exert an undue degree of influence over its citizens. By comparing the media discourse in a democratic country to the media discourse in an authoritarian country, one could reasonably expect to identify unique language markers, which shed light on their divergent political climates. This study specifically sourced articles from the Venezuelan publication El Universal and the Costa Rican publication The Tico Times. The author then analyzed every article related to politics published by both newspapers in March 2014 and in March 2017 using the software program NVivo. The author noted a distinct shift from overt anti-government discourse in some of El Universal’s 2014 articles to more uniformly measured, matter-of-fact reporting in its 2017 articles. The Tico Times maintained more consistency over time, but its political coverage decreased dramatically from 2014 to 2017.