Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Communication and Information

Major Professor

Peter Gross

Committee Members

Catherine A. Luther, Michael R. Fitzgerald


This thesis studies a case of U.S. mediated public diplomacy in Romania by analyzing the Romanian media framing as compared to the U.S. embassy’s framing of a public diplomacy crisis. It seeks to participate in the discussion about public diplomacy in general and mediated public diplomacy in particular. The case, from 2004, concerns the death of Romanian rock star, Teo Peter, in a car accident caused by an American marine serving in the U.S. embassy. A public diplomacy crisis situation focuses on the U.S. mediated public diplomacy efforts to prevent damaging its image; and also intensifies media’s interest on writing about the subject. The analysis in this study is based on the investigation of the similarities and differences in the frames used in the press releases and news articles to construct the image of the same event. The thesis employs Entman’s concept of U.S. mediated public diplomacy when analyzing the framing process of two of the major actors presented in his model: the target nation media and the U.S. public and media diplomacy (U.S. officials in that country). Benoit’s model is used to better explain the press releases’ framing. Framing analysis was chosen as a qualitative research method, as this study aims to explore the images created by mass media or by public diplomacy efforts (through the press releases) when they construct a specific reality for the same public diplomacy crisis. Three major Romanian national, daily newspapers and the U.S. embassy’s press releases were analyzed. The findings revealed that the Romanian media framed the public diplomacy crisis in a different way than the U.S. officials framed it. It seems that the U.S. failed in promoting its framing of the public diplomacy crisis to the Romanian media and therefore the public.

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