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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 99246 Find in a Library
Title: Police Accountability and the Media (From Police Leadership in America, P 102-135, 1985, William A Geller, ed. - See NCJ-98325)
Author(s): J H Skolnick; C McCoy
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 34
Sponsoring Agency: Praeger Publishers
Westport, CT 06881
Sale Source: Praeger Publishers
88 Post Road West
Westport, CT 06881
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examines the adequacy of media coverage of police through interviews of a limited sample of 25 police chiefs and selected journalists; the discussion also examines the media's role in police reporting under various theories of the first amendment.
Abstract: Twenty-five police chiefs associated with the Police Twenty-five police chiefs associated with the Police Executive Research Forum were asked to describe their relations with news media and offer their opinions on how well the media cover the police. The chiefs' primary criticism of journalists is that they are superficially informed about the institutions and processes of criminal justice. They respond primarily to the public's interest in lurid crime details. The journalists interviewed -- David Burnham of the New York Times and David Johnston of the Los Angeles Times -- agreed that media reporting on the police generally focuses on crimes and the reporting of quotes and information provided by police officials. Both jounalists noted, however, that police officials seek to manage the news to present a favorable image of the police department. The interviews suggest that journalists should expand their reporting on the design of police departments and how they work. Such information is required before the public can evaluate the significance of singular police events. More insightful, comprehensive, and indepth reporting on police operations would fulfill the intention of the first amendment. Ten notes are provided.
Index Term(s): Freedom of the press; Police attitudes; Police chiefs; Police policy development; Public information
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