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NCJ Number: 151064 Find in a Library
Title: Body Bag Journalism: Crime Coverage by the U.S. Media
Author(s): S Ruel
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 19
Type: Survey
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of television news in recent years concludes that coverage of violent events has greatly increased, that professional standards have steadily declined, and that television news must return to its original mission of informing and educating the public.
Abstract: During the winter and spring of 1994 the news media focused extensively on stories of violence, culminating in its coverage of the O.J. Simpson murder case. During this period it downplayed such topics as health care reform, genocide in Rwanda and other countries, North Korea's nuclear threat, and other important issues. Most media critics agreed that the coverage represented a shameless pandering to the public's blood lust for violent stories. These events demonstrate how television news coverage has evolved unrecognizably from its earliest days. The methods, standards, and practices have all changed so that the focus is now as much on entertainment as on information. The competition for ratings is so intense that standards of attribution and accuracy have been lost. A recent study revealed that the amount of network television news airtime devoted to violent crime has doubled in the past year, while the overall crime rate in the United States has remained stable. To address these problems, grassroots efforts by the public, a direct appeal to the consciences of people with influence in the news business, and more accurate depictions of violence are all needed. Notes and 5 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Fear of crime; Media coverage; Television programming; Violence on television
Note: Paper presented at the International Conference on Violence in the Media, New York, NY, October 3 and 4, 1994
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