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Violent Media Content: A Cross-Media, Longitundinal Analysis
Unformatted Document Text:  31 associated with coding synopses rather than actual content is taken into account, our estimation is very comparable to the most recent of the above analyses, the National Television Violence Study. Comparisons regarding the other types of media content examined in this study and past research findings are more difficult to make due to the relative lack of previous research quantifying the amount of violence in news media. We can determine, however, that the figure from our results regarding amount of violent content in newspapers, 16.9%, is somewhat similar to that found by Williams and Dickinson’s (1993) analysis of British newspapers that devoted an average of 12.7% of the total content to crime. The contextual features that were organized and applied by the researchers who conducted the National Television Violence Study (1996, 1997, 1998) are also examined in this study. Each of these contextual features of violent media content has been related to the degree of possible harm for audience members who consume such media. Descriptive statistics generated from our data show there are some indications of “high risk” treatment of violence in the media content examined in regards to physically violent acts against people. All media types focused most heavily on very severe instances of violence, for instance, rather than more minor aggressive acts, which could increase audience members’ fear or inspire a “mean world syndrome” outcome (Gerbner et al., 1994, 1995; National Television Violence Study, 1996, 1997, 1998). On the other hand, the news media types avoided graphic discussions of violence on the whole, whereas primetime television content varied in terms of graphicness. Rewards associated with violence were virtually absent from the news media examined but occurred in 15% of the primetime television content, a potentially problematic result due to the increased

Authors: Scharrer, Erica.
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associated with coding synopses rather than actual content is taken into account, our
estimation is very comparable to the most recent of the above analyses, the National
Television Violence Study. Comparisons regarding the other types of media content
examined in this study and past research findings are more difficult to make due to the
relative lack of previous research quantifying the amount of violence in news media. We
can determine, however, that the figure from our results regarding amount of violent
content in newspapers, 16.9%, is somewhat similar to that found by Williams and
Dickinson’s (1993) analysis of British newspapers that devoted an average of 12.7% of
the total content to crime.
The contextual features that were organized and applied by the researchers who
conducted the National Television Violence Study (1996, 1997, 1998) are also examined
in this study. Each of these contextual features of violent media content has been related
to the degree of possible harm for audience members who consume such media.
Descriptive statistics generated from our data show there are some indications of “high
risk” treatment of violence in the media content examined in regards to physically violent
acts against people. All media types focused most heavily on very severe instances of
violence, for instance, rather than more minor aggressive acts, which could increase
audience members’ fear or inspire a “mean world syndrome” outcome (Gerbner et al.,
1994, 1995; National Television Violence Study, 1996, 1997, 1998). On the other hand,
the news media types avoided graphic discussions of violence on the whole, whereas
primetime television content varied in terms of graphicness. Rewards associated with
violence were virtually absent from the news media examined but occurred in 15% of the
primetime television content, a potentially problematic result due to the increased


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