The Cardinal Edge


When workers left the labor market in large numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic, proclamations of a labor shortage emerged extensively throughout the news. In this study, I analyze the coverage of the worker shortage among three news sources with different political orientations. Several themes emerged from analyzing a total of 75 articles. The findings showed that the perspective shown in the article, the cause of the labor shortage, restaurant worker portrayal, support of solutions, and opinion of the labor shortage all differed based on the political identity of the news source. This research supports previous findings that show there is a significantly smaller number of articles written about the struggles of the working class, and more articles written about the struggles of the upper class. This information contributes new information to our knowledge of common media portrayals of social and economic issues. It is concluded that while the liberal and centrist news sources did show empathy towards the worker’s struggle in the labor shortage during COVID-19 and portrayed them in a positive manner, they rarely used a working-class perspective to look at social problems. Future research composing of a blind study with a larger sample and more expansive timeline is encouraged and further analysis is needed in looking at whom news sources tend to interview the most, as this may affect the portrayal of certain groups.

cardinal correspondence for senior honors thesis.pdf (3483 kB)
cardinal correspondence for senior honors thesis.pdf