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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 169626 Find in a Library
Title: Victims in the News: Crime and the American News Media
Author(s): S M Chermak
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 218
Sponsoring Agency: Westview Press, Inc
Boulder, CO 80301
Publication Number: ISBN 0-8133-2497-1
Sale Source: Westview Press, Inc
Marketing Director
5500 Central Avenue
Boulder, CO 80301
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Using three research methodologies -- content analysis, ethnography, and interviews -- this book examines the presentation of crime, victims, and defendants in the news.
Abstract: Using content analysis of nearly 3,000 crime stories and in-depth ethnographies conducted at a midwestern city daily newspaper and an urban television station, the book examines the presentation of crime victims in newspaper and television media, providing insights into the images generated about crime and its victims. The book concludes that reporters select those crime cases made available to them by the police according to the criterion of newsworthiness. In making their selections, the media have their own independent set of criteria for determining the newsworthiness of a story, and these affect an editor's story selection, production, and assignment of sources, as well as how much follow-up to do when reporting a story. The more selection criteria a story satisfies, the more likely it is that the story will be presented and be given more space. Particular victims, defendants, and crimes influence the level of newsworthiness crime achieves. Serious crimes are generally more newsworthy than less serious crimes. Both young and elderly victims increase the importance of crime stories, although young and elderly defendants have a less consistent effect on newsworthiness. Although criminal justice sources are the main conduit of crime news, crime victims and other sources who might provide different perspectives play an important role in the media's generation of crime news because they often can provide the extra element needed to make a crime newsworthy or, at the least, raise its level of newsworthiness. Chapters examine how the presentation of crime and victims differ under print and electronic media formats; the presentation of crime and victims in different-sized cities; and the powers and "muzzling" of the new media, as well as the costs of crime news production. 34 tables, appended note on research methodology, subject index, and 156 references
Main Term(s): Victim profiles
Index Term(s): Media coverage; Media-crime relationships; Offender profiles
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