Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Fred J. Galloway, EdD, Chair; Robert Donmoyer, PhD, Member; Theresa M. Monroe, EdD, Member


advertisement, Car and Driver (Ann Arbor, MI), Descriptive statistics, illegal street racing, independent samples t-tests, Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA), media framing, National Geographic (Washington, DC), San Diego Union (San Diego, CA), southern California


For the last sixty years, the legal community and public policymakers have assumed that illegal street racing has appealed to a single portion of the driving population—young adults driving modified vehicles. However, this assumption has been based solely on anecdotal information and has never been empirically investigated in the literature. To remedy this situation, this mixed methodology study examined whether this narrow framing of the illegal street racing issue was present in two southern California newspapers and two nationally circulated magazines over a three-year time period. Specifically, this study examined the way in which this issue was framed in daily issues of the San Diego Union and Los Angeles Times, as well as in monthly issues of Car and Driver and National Geographic between January 1, 2001 and January 30, 2004, a three-year period framing two films incorporating a street racing theme, “The Fast and Furious” released in 2001, and its sequel, “2 Fast 2 Furious” released in 2003. During this time period, a total of 150 street-racing related newspaper articles and 21 street-racing themed advertisements were published in the sampled media. Descriptive statistics and independent samples t-tests designed to test for differences between the two media portrayals were utilized. Specifically, each article or advertisement was coded on a number of dimensions, including participant age and vehicle type, and then mapped onto a set of numerical variables that allowed for a comparison of the mean scores by media type. The results of this analysis indicated that over the three-year time period, the newspapers consistently failed to acknowledge and/or explore the issue's complexity, portraying it as an issue that appealed narrowly to young adults driving modified cars and needing to be remedied with criminal justice interventions. However, the advertisements consistently portrayed illegal street racing in a positive manner, framed largely as an acceptable and even desirable activity for individuals of all ages driving a variety of vehicles. And although this analysis was limited to Southern California, the results of this study suggest policymakers need to significantly widen their perspectives in order to understand and impact this complex phenomenon.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access