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NCJ Number: 202754 Find in a Library
Title: Effect of Newspaper Ownership on the Content of Crime News
Author(s): Matthew E. Beresford
Corporate Author: University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
United States of America
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 53
Sponsoring Agency: University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Milwaukee, WI 53201
Sale Source: University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
3203 North Downer
Milwaukee, WI 53201
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Dissertation/Thesis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This document discusses how the content of newspaper crime news was influenced by the merger of the evening and morning editions of the Milwaukee Sentinel on April 2, 1995.
Abstract: Dependent variables of analyzed crime news included general and specific offenses; story photographs; column inches; age, sex, and race of victims and offenders; areas where crimes occurred; and which crimes were repeated more often. Independent variables involved the newspaper that reported the crime during pre- and post-merger conditions. The interaction between police and police reporters was also considered. The hypothesis was that the merger of the Milwaukee Journal and Sentinel would produce a newspaper similar in content and style with the ones that existed prior to the merger. The study also examined the historical and contemporary relationship between police officers and police reporters concerning newspapers. Results showed the Journal/Sentinel’s coverage of crime resembled (by percent) the Milwaukee Journal’s crime reporting style more so than the Sentinel. There is a certain amount of distrust that exists between interviewed members of the Milwaukee Police Department and the police reporter staff. This most likely originates from the fact that there is a definite difference of opinion of how effectively or efficiently the other group handles crime (gathering and presenting information). The former has held beliefs that police reporters are capable of manipulating facts at crime scenes in an attempt to build a story up if it is not sensational enough. The latter has the perception that members of the police often do not fully disclose facts about some cases fairly. All the factors detailed in this report both external (police) and internal (police reporter staff issues and newspaper policy) have had a bearing on the newspaper merger in Milwaukee.
Main Term(s): Media coverage; Press relations
Index Term(s): Moral Panic; Police community relations units; Press releases; Pretrial publicity; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Public Opinion of Crime
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