Media Portrayals of Hashtag Activism: A Framing Analysis of Canada’s #Idlenomore Movement

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Media Portrayals of Hashtag Activism: A Framing Analysis of Canada’s #Idlenomore Movement

  • Derek Moscato School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon, USA

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Abstract:  The confluence of activism and social media—legitimized by efforts such as the Arab Spring and Occupy Movements—represents a growing area of mainstream media focus. Using Canada’s #IdleNoMore movement as a case, this study uses framing theory to better understand how traditional media are representing activism borne of social media such as Twitter, and how such activism can ultimately have an impact in political and public policy debates. A qualitative framing analysis is used to identify frames present in media reporting of #IdleNoMore during its first two months by two prominent Canadian publications. Emergent frames show that hashtag activism as a catalyst for a social movement was embraced as a theme by one of the publications, therefore helping to legitimize the role of social media tools such as Twitter. In other frames, both positive and negative depictions of the social movement helped to identify for mainstream audiences both historical grievances and future challenges and opportunities for Canada’s First Nations communities.

Keywords:  media framing; online activism; social media



© Derek Moscato. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.