The Representation of the U.S.-Mexico Border in Television News: Textual Analysis on Bodies and Security Enforcement

David Gonzalez Hernandez


This article analyzes how television news has enhanced the role of
representation of the United States-Mexico border in themes such as
immigration, theme represented in “spectacular” ways related to “warfare”.
Using textual analysis on TV reports, my aim is to show how local
television network news in the United States (NBC) and Mexico (Televisa)
construct the representation of the U.S./Mexico border through a
particular conflicting vision to account for border enforcements and
interventions on both sides and with similar visual strategies.
The analysis centers on actual “visual text” or television news reports,
which tries to demonstrates how assumptions guide the activity of local
network coverage, and how, at the same time, limits what is reported in news.
This consequently contributes to the perpetuation of a representation related
to ¨crisis¨ in the border region.

Texto completo:



Ang, I. (1990). Culture and communication: towards an ethnographic critique of media consumption inthe transnational media system. European Journal of Communication, 5(2), 239-260.

Barker, C.(2008).Cultural studies: Theory and practice. Los Angeles:Sage.

Barthes, R.(1981).Camera lucida: Reflections on photography, trans. Richard Howard, New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

Barthes, R.(1977).From work to text.Image, Music, Text (pp. 155-164). London: Fontana Press.

Brown, C., &Roemer,R.(2016).Local television news in Salinas, California: Defining and informing a Latino community withexcessive crime news coverage. Electronic News, 10(1), 3-23.

Bustamante, J. A. (1989). Frontera México-Estados Unidos: Reflexiones para un marcoteórico[Mexico-United States frontier. Reflections for a Theory Framework].Frontera Norte, 1(1), 7-24.

Carlos,M.,& Becerra, J. (2018).Trumplomacy, la relación México -Donald Trump en la era digital: Un estadodel arte. Global Media Journal México,15(28),116-135.

Chavez, L. (2008). The Latino Threat: Constructing Immigrants, Citizens, and the Nation. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.

Chavez, L. (2001). Covering Immigration: Popular Images and the Politics of the Nation. Berkeley: University of California Press

De Lauretis, T. (1990/2008).Upping theanti (sic)in feminist theory.In In M.Hirsch and E.Fox Keller (editors) Conflicts in Feminism.(pp. 225-270). London: Routledge.

Fiske, J.(1987). Television culture. London: Routledge.

Freedman, W. (2011).It takes more thangood looks to succeed at TV news reporting. Hawaii: A Wealth of Wisdom.

Gilroy, Paul (2000) The Crisis of Race and Raciology. Against Race. Imagining Political Culture beyond the Color Line. (pp. 11-53) Cambridge: Harvard University Press

Golding, P.,&Elliot, P.(1979). Making the news. USA: Longman.

Gurevitch, M. (1991/2004). The globalization of electronic journalism.In P.Marris &S.Thornham (Eds.) Media studies. New York:NY University Press.

Hall, S., Critcher, C., Jefferson, T.; Clarke, J., and Roberts, B. (eds) (1978) The social production of news. Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State and Law and Order. (pp. 53-80). London: Macmillan.

Hall, S. (1973). Encoding/decoding. In Culture, media, language: Working papers in cultural studies(pp. 128-138). London: Routledge.

Hall, S. (1977). Culture, the media and the “ideological effect”.In J.Curran, M.Gurevitch & J.Woollacott (Eds.),Mass Communication and Society(pp. 315-348). London: Edward Arnold

Hall, S. (1996).Gramsci’srelevance for the study of raceand ethnicity.In D.Morley &K.-H.Chen (Eds.), Stuart Hall: Critical dialogues in cultural studies(pp. 411-441). London:Routledge.

Hall, S. (1996/2008).Cultural studies and its theoretical legacies.In Simon During (Ed.), The cultural studies reader(pp. 33-44). London: Routledge.

Hall, S.(1997). Representation. Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Hall, S.,& Morley, D.(2018).Essential essays: Foundations of cultural studies & identity and diaspora. Durham, NC: Duke University Press Books

Hartley, J. (1982). Understanding news. London: Methuen

Jensen, K.(1987).News as ideology: economic statistics and political ritual in television network news.Journal of Communication, 37, 8-27

Larsen, P.(1991).Textual analysis of fictional media content. In K.Bruhn Jensen &N.W.Jankowski(Eds.), A handbook of qualitative methodologies for mass communication research(pp. 121-134). London: Routledge.

Lewis, L. (2016).The myth of post-racialism in television news. New York: Routledge.

McQuail, D.(1987). Mass communication theory: An introduction. London: Sage

Meltzer, K. (2010).TV news anchorsand journalistic tradition: How journalists adapt to technology. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.

Miller, T.(2002). Television studies. London: British Film Institute.

Morris, M.(1988).Banality in cultural studies discourse. Discourse 10(2), pp. 3–29.

Nevins, J.(2002). Operation gatekeeper: The rise of the illegal alien and the remaking of the U.S. Mexico boundary.New York: Routledge.

Ono, K. & Sloop, J. (2002) Shifting Borders: Rhetoric, Immigration, and California's "Proposition187. ̈Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Padín, J. A. (2005). The normative mulattoes: The press, latinos, and the racial climate on the moving immigration frontier. Sociological Perspectives48 (1): 49-75.

Ponce de Leon, C.(2015).That's the wayit is: A history of television news in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Postman, N.,&Powers, S. (2008) How to watch TV news: Revised edition.New York: Penguin Books.

Rakow, L.,&Kranich K.(1991). Woman as sign in television news. Journal of Communication, 41(1), 8-23.

Roy, S. (2011). Television news and democratic change in India. Media, culture andsociety, 33(5), 761-777.

Salwen, M. & Soruco, G. (1997). The Hispanic Americans. In B. Keever, C. Martindale, and M. Weston(editors)US news coverage of racial minorities: A sourcebook, 1934-1996. (pp. 147-190). Westport, CT, Greenwood.

Santa Anna, O. (2002) Brown Tide Rising: Metaphors of Latinos in Contemporary American Public Discourse. Texas: University of Texas Press.

Santa Anna, O. (2012) Juan in a Hundred: The Representation of Latinos on Network News.Texas: University of Texas Press.

Schrøder, K. C. (2002). Discourses of fact.In K. Bruhn Jensen(ed.),A handbook of media and communication research: Qualitative and quantitative methodologies(pp. 98-116). London: Routledge.

Schudson, M.(1978). Discovering the news. A social history of American newspapers. New York: Basic Books.

Schudson, M. (2005). Four Approaches to the Sociology of News. In James Curran, Michael Gurevitch (Eds.): Mass Media and Society. (pp. 172-197). London: Edward Arnold

Schudson, M. (2011). Sociology of news. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Sturken, M., &Cartwright, L. (2001).Practices of looking. An introduction to visual culture.New York: Oxford University Press.

Thompson, J.B.(1995).The media and modernity: A social theory of the media. Stanford University Press.

Valenzuela, J.M.(2000).Norteños ayankados. Discursos y representaciones de la frontera[Northlanders, mexi-yanques. Discourses and representations of the border]. Comunicación y Sociedad, 38,37-57.

Wallen, R. (2003).Barrier or bridge: Photojournalism of the San Diego/Tijuana border region.Communication Review, 6(2),137-164.

Wojcieszak, M. (2009).Three-dimensionality: Taxonomy of iconic, linguistic, and audio messages in television news. Television & New Media, 10(6),459-481.

Source images

Bledsoe, G. (2007, December 19) Attacks on US Border Patrol Agents in San Diego, CA. [video file] Retrieved from

Notivisa Editorial (2012, October 8). Realiza DIF Tijuana jornada asistencial de atención al migrante. [video file]. Retrieved from