Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 3-12-2021


Heinemann, P. (2020, Mar. 12). Perceptions of Black Lives Matter: An analysis of the movement and its impact on the relationships between the Lincoln police department, the Lincoln Journal Star, and the public. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Paige Heinemann 2021.


This study examines the relationships between the Lincoln Police Department (LPD), the Lincoln Journal Star (LJS), and the public as they interacted during the Black Lives Matter protests in Lincoln, Nebraska, during June 2020. In order to analyze the relationships between the three actors, I utilized previous research that examined the role of the media on perceptions of police, how media framing of police brutality influences perceptions, and how the four models of public relations function in communities. This led me to pose the following research question: How do the relationships between the Lincoln Police Department, the media and the public reflect symmetrical communication? In this study, I conducted an analysis of both LJS articles and tweets from members of the public, as well as an interview with LPD’s Public Information Officer. Ultimately, the relationships between the three actors more closely reflect asymmetric communication as opposed to the two-way symmetrical model.