Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies

First Committee Member

Thomas R. Burkholder

Number of Pages



On the morning of April, 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into the cafeteria of Columbine High School and began a rampage that would leave twelve students and one teacher dead and twenty three other students wounded. This project examined the role local newspapers played in the recovery of the Littleton, Colorado, community in the wake of this tragedy. A rhetorical analysis of all material concerning the shootings contained the The Denver Post and The Denver Rocky Mountain News from the first day of coverage (4/21/99) and continuing for five days (4/25/99) was performed. This analysis employed Kenneth Burke's dramatism, specifically the concept of mortification, to explain the symbolic cleansing of guilt that occurred in the community after the shootings. The study concluded that the local newspapers helped the community identify with the sin that had occurred, labeled the source of the disorder and eradicated it from the community, and detailed renewed community covenants and memorialized the victims to reflect the formation of a new order.


Colorado; Columbine; Colorado; Littleton; Local; Newspaper; Order; Restoration

Controlled Subject

Mass media; Rhetoric

File Format


File Size

2826.24 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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