Elizabeth Kwofie

Research Project

(De)Constructing the Female Murderer: Narrative Tropes in Media Portrayals of Female Murderers in The New York Times (1992-2022)


Elizabeth is a fourth-year ProCom student with a minor in Disability Studies. Her professional interests include editing for the publishing industry, inclusive design and talent management. She is a creative, organized, and detail-oriented individual with technical skills in Adobe Creative Cloud, Canva, WordPress and more.

She had the pleasure of being the EDI Lead for this year’s Signify, where she collaborated with other leads, striving to ensure Signify celebrated diversity, promoted equity, and inspired meaningful connections within the community. She had so much fun working with the team and is excited to carry her knowledge and experience with EDI forward to the publishing and education industries.

Research Summary

Media representations of female offenders frequently diverge from the nuanced realities of female criminality. As a result, my study aims to unravel how language and framing in American media coverage influence and reflect societal perceptions of female murderers. It also seeks to address the media’s role in either perpetuating or challenging stereotypes of femininity or female deviance. To examine the portrayals of female murderers in the press, I employed a qualitative approach underpinned by the critical linguistics strand of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). A carefully selected dataset of 24 newspaper articles sourced from The New York Times over 30 years (i.e. 1992, 2002, 2012, and 2022) formed the basis of my analysis. I critically analyzed this data to identify the tropes used to portray female murderers in news stories. Additionally, I looked for notable shifts in the portrayals of female murderers over the 30-year period.

Research Poster

Lightning Talk

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