Reporting and Reparations: News Coverage and the Decision to Compensate the Forcefully Sterilized in North Carolina

J. P. Nelson, Terri B. Davis, Lacey Atkins


Forced sterilization was an accepted legal practice in the United States during the beginning and middle of the previous century. It was promoted by an international movement to prevent procreation by those deemed unworthy of reproduction (Black, 2003). North Carolina has recently decided to pay reparations to forced sterilization victims (Editorial (Winston-Salem Journal), 2013) and the state of Virginia has more recently emulated this decision (Martz & Nolan 2015). This analysis will discuss the common eugenic history of many states but will also highlight North Carolina’s distinctiveness on this issue. The qualitative portion of the analysis will explain the historical reasons North Carolina would be likely to be the first state to adopt this policy. Our quantitative analysis will examine the role of news coverage of sterilization policy in North Carolina and its relationship to the decision to adopt a policy of reparations.

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Studies in Media and Communication      ISSN 2325-8071 (Print)   ISSN 2325-808X (Online)

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