Audience engagement changing media's mistrusted view of intimate partner violence


Author/Creator ORCID




Towson University. Department of Mass Communication


Towson University. Communication Management Program

Citation of Original Publication


There are no restrictions on access to this document. An internet release form signed by the author to display this document online is on file with Towson University Special Collections and Archives.



Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a public health crisis in society. The investigation of Gabby Petito (a missing blogger case) along with her finance Brian Laundrie in September 2021 spotlighted their relationships by the masses online and off in the media. This study provided an analysis of the Gabby Petito case on how the media framed IPV online and what was the role of the intersectionality of class. This study was a descriptive quantitative and qualitative method, particularly a thematic analysis. Online newspaper articles from USA TODAY, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal from September 11, 2021, and January 21, 2022, were examined about the missing subject and the media context along with a review of Gabby Petito’s father Joseph Petito’s posts reviewed with the social media textual analytics tool: Twinonomy. Finding that online newspapers framed Petito’s case in a traditional victim viewpoint with facts about the crime not the causes behind the violent acts. Online posts, hashtags, and video engagement with the online audience built an online community that helped the investigation to solve Petito’s crime. Future research needs to be studied on IPV and social media. Through accountability, this study showed that online audience engagement and prevention education can promote healthier relationships to reduce IPV for society in the digital world.