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Violent Media Content: A Cross-Media, Longitundinal Analysis
Unformatted Document Text:  33 content that contains violence is getting increasingly more violent over time, whereas the percentage of such content in the overall programming schedule has diminished. There have been many anecdotal observations of increased sensationalism in television news that may suggest that the amount of violence in TV newscasts has increased. The data gathered here could be interpreted as being somewhat supportive of that view, since the percentage of overall content containing violence and the numbers of acts of physical violence against people have risen (though they fall just short of statistical significance) over time. Finally, newspapers in the sample have experienced a general decrease in percentage of content that contains violence and numbers of physically violent acts against either people or objects over time. One explanation for these patterns is that perhaps newspapers are attempting in recent years to attract wider and younger audiences by including more light news that does not contain violence. Finally, this study joins others in finding very little evidence of systematic relationships between external forces and factors and the amount of violence in media content. This finding supports the existing literature that has determined that the amount of violence on fictional television is largely unrelated to FBI crime data (Clark & Blankenburg, 1972) and to governmental concern with the issue of media violence (Hoerrner, 1999). It also extends the literature in this area to an analysis of an additional external factor, news media attention to the problem of media violence. Yet, once again, no evidence of a correlation between this variable and the amount of violence in the media is found. In addition to examining fictional media content as it relates to real-world variables, the study at hand also finds that the presence of violence in non-fictional media content is unrelated to such external factors. Therefore, we can conclude that coverage of

Authors: Scharrer, Erica.
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content that contains violence is getting increasingly more violent over time, whereas the
percentage of such content in the overall programming schedule has diminished. There
have been many anecdotal observations of increased sensationalism in television news
that may suggest that the amount of violence in TV newscasts has increased. The data
gathered here could be interpreted as being somewhat supportive of that view, since the
percentage of overall content containing violence and the numbers of acts of physical
violence against people have risen (though they fall just short of statistical significance)
over time. Finally, newspapers in the sample have experienced a general decrease in
percentage of content that contains violence and numbers of physically violent acts
against either people or objects over time. One explanation for these patterns is that
perhaps newspapers are attempting in recent years to attract wider and younger audiences
by including more light news that does not contain violence.
Finally, this study joins others in finding very little evidence of systematic
relationships between external forces and factors and the amount of violence in media
content. This finding supports the existing literature that has determined that the amount
of violence on fictional television is largely unrelated to FBI crime data (Clark &
Blankenburg, 1972) and to governmental concern with the issue of media violence
(Hoerrner, 1999). It also extends the literature in this area to an analysis of an additional
external factor, news media attention to the problem of media violence. Yet, once again,
no evidence of a correlation between this variable and the amount of violence in the
media is found. In addition to examining fictional media content as it relates to real-world
variables, the study at hand also finds that the presence of violence in non-fictional media
content is unrelated to such external factors. Therefore, we can conclude that coverage of


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