Reframing the runway: A case study of the impact of community organizing on news and politics

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14 Scopus citations


This article discusses newspaper coverage of a plan by the Massachusetts Port Authority to construct a new runway that would triple the amount of flights at Boston's Logan International Airport. The project was supported by the Boston business community, the hospitality and airline industries and the Republican state leadership - who because of their status as elite sources, had the power to create the initial framing of the issue in terms of 'economic progress' vs 'stagnation'. Early coverage in The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald reproduced this frame, failing to elucidate larger social justice issues involved for working class and minority communities abutting the airport. Through community organizing and media work enhanced with new communications technologies, a volunteer-run coalition of Boston area residents drew attention to issues of equity concerning the project's environmental impacts, and helped educate elected officials, journalists and the general public about alternatives to the runway. This affected the framing of the issue in the news and, more importantly, broadened the policy debate in ways that stimulated regionalized transportation planning aimed at reducing environmental impacts for the communities around Logan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-485
Number of pages21
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


  • Community organizing
  • Environmental justice
  • New media and activism
  • News frames
  • News sources
  • Social movements and news


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