Started in 2014, the Media Rhetoric Project studies how the mainstream media has depicted immigrants, refugees and noncitizens from 2012‑present in Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio.
These findings have been compiled in a report, released in April 2017.
From the report's summary:
HRAP concluded that there was an inconsistency regarding the overall rhetorical image of noncitizens formed in articles as well as the language used when writing about noncitizens. From 2012 to 2014, mainstream print media portrayals of noncitizens were neutral-to-positive, though there were very few stories from the perspectives of noncitizens. Louisville, Kentucky print media in 2015 mainly contained positive portrayals of noncitizens. The mainstream print media of Kentucky cities outside of Louisville in 2015 were quite political, reporting on the opinions of Republican presidential candidates in regards to noncitizens, specifically refugees and undocumented individuals. For Kentucky’s surrounding states, portrayals of noncitizens in the media shifted in 2015, with Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee print media showing a shift from neutral- to-positive portrayals of noncitizens to negative portrayals in November of 2015. Following the 2016 election, the mainstream print media in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee for the most part reported on noncitizens in a positive light.
In response, HRAP has begun producing a Comprehensive Guide to Language Use in Reference to the Noncitizen Community (The Guide) and a video cultural competency training resource. HRAP will next finalize and distribute The Guide and the video in late 2017 to members of the community including elected officials, schools, frontline workers in education and language, and journalists.