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NCJ Number: 220292 Find in a Library
Title: Columbine Victims and the Myth of the Juvenile Superpredator
Journal: Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice  Volume:5  Issue:4  Dated:October 2007  Pages:351-366
Author(s): Glenn W. Muschert
Date Published: October 2007
Page Count: 16
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study looked at the superpredator myth by examining the news coverage of the Columbine School shootings.
Abstract: This research study found that the level of news coverage about the Columbine victims was unevenly distributed over the life span of the story. In order for the media to maintain the interest and intrigue of the story, the discussion of the individual victims evolved over time. The 13 victims did not receive the same level of media coverage. The victims that were selected by the news media to be “news worthy” received the most coverage: the teacher, the African-American student, and the two evangelical Christians. The news coverage of the Columbine shootings fit into four themes of coverage: description of the victims (age, gender, and class standing), details of victims’ death, memorial services for victims, and special issues (race and religion). The Columbine shootings demonstrate three characteristics of the criminal myth: innocent victims, appearance of heroes, and threat to established values. The article shows the myth of the superpredator is alive and well. The purpose of the study was to look at the news coverage of Columbine and the role the victims’ stories played in the juvenile superpredator myth. The research method was ethnographic content analysis. The data was collected through a Lexis-Nexis search for the keywords Columbine and Littleton. The search returned 683 articles from sources like CNN and ABC News. The study period was 1 month following the shootings between April 20, 1999, and May 20, 1999. Figures, references
Main Term(s): Crime in schools; Media coverage
Index Term(s): Gun Violence; Victims of violent crime; Violent juvenile offenders
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