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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 75436 Find in a Library
Title: Reporting Crime and Fearing Crime in Three Communities
Author(s): W B Jaehnig; D H Weaver; F Fico
Corporate Author: Indiana University
School of Journalism
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: Eric Document Reproduction Service
Arlington, VA 22210
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47401
Sale Source: Eric Document Reproduction Service
P. O. Box 190
Arlington, VA 22210
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A study was conducted to investigate whether readers of newspapers that carry large amounts of crime news have a greater fear of becoming crime victims than do readers of newspapers that place less emphasis on crime coverage.
Abstract: Data were gathered through a content analysis of crime news in three newspapers of widely differing sizes (the Chicago Tribune, the Indianapolis Star, and the Lebanon, New Hampshire Valley News) for the entire year of 1976; interviews with panels of voters in Evanston, Ill., metropolitan Indianapolis, and Lebanon, N. H.; and the Uniform Crime Reports for each city. The findings revealed that fear of crime was associated more strongly with newspaper emphasis on violent crime than with the actual frequency of violent crime in a community. In addition, the evidence suggests that both newspaper emphasis on crime and people's fear of crime were correlated more closely with the occurrence of violent crime than with the occurrence of crimes in general in a community. The findings are suggestive only, because the study was limited in the populations examined and the analysis concerned only newpaper reports of crime. However, they raise questions about the methods of presentation used by newspapers in reporting local criminal activity -- specifically, whether crime news is reported dispassionately to provide readers with a meaningful understanding of events and their policy implications or whether crime news is used to shock, shame, or titillate the readers. Fifteen references are provided; two tables are included.
Index Term(s): Crime Rate; Fear of crime; Illinois; Indiana; Media coverage; New Hampshire; Public Attitudes/Opinion
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS. Presented to the Mass Communications and Society Division at the 1979 annual convention of the Association for Education in Journalism in Houston, Texas.
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