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This study combines discourse analysis and narrative analysis (Yin 2007) to examine top US newspapers’ coverage of refugees in American human interest stories. I find that the refugees are presented (a) as prior victims; (b) as in search of the American Dream; and (c) as unable to achieve the American Dream. As human-interest features, the stories provide a largely positive portrayal of individual refugees and their families. However, the human interest stories also depict refugees as current victims of the American economic crisis; deeply frustrated by their inability to achieve the American Dream. Together these discourses represent a narrative of escape, hope, and then harsh reality for refugees in America’s current economic climate.
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