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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 154199 Find in a Library
Title: Body Count News: How Crime Is Presented in the News Media
Journal: Justice Quarterly  Volume:11  Issue:4  Dated:(December 1994)  Pages:561-582
Author(s): S M Chermak
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 22
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined how the news production process affects the presentation of crime in the news media; content analysis and ethnographic methods were used to determine what types of crime are presented in the media.
Abstract: The author looked at the presentation of crime in both print and electronic media. Media organizations were selected according to city size. About 150 hours were spent in each news agency, and interviews were conducted to help interpret data. It was found that the news media relied heavily on criminal justice resources for crime story information. This reliance influenced the stories selected and how they were presented to the public. News media and sources were motivated to cooperate because cooperation allowed each party to accomplish organizational objectives. News media presented a distorted picture of crime types known to the police because sources defined what was important about crime in a way that met organizational needs. Further, news media selected and produced stories they thought were of most interest to the public. Violent crime predominated in print and electronic media, but the presentation of crime varied somewhat, depending on the need of news media to satisfy format requirements and on their degree of access to serious crime. Further research is recommended to investigate how the process of source control influences the presentation of news. 55 references, 16 footnotes, and 3 tables
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Media coverage; Media violence; Public Opinion of Crime; Television programming
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