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Violent Media Content: A Cross-Media, Longitundinal Analysis
Unformatted Document Text:  34 violent events in the news, either in the form of newspapers, newsmagazines, or television news, is not significantly related to actual levels of violence in the nation at the time, according to FBI Uniform Crime Reports. Presence of violence in the news is also unrelated to either the expression of governmental concern with or news coverage of the issue of media violence as a social problem. Once again, therefore, it seems as though the inclusion of violent stories in the news, most likely about crime (Chermak, 1998; Sorenson, et al., 1998; Stepp, 1998; Williams & Dickinson, 1993), is a common practice that occurs independently from scrutiny of the issue of media violence in general. There are certainly limitations to this study that the reader should keep in mind when considering the results. First, the reliance for the analysis of primetime television violence on TV Guide synopses sets strict boundaries on the conclusions generated from the primetime television-related results. As Clark and Blankenburg (1972) found, violence in TV Guide synopses relates to actual numbers of acts of violence in programs, yet also consistently underestimates the real presence of violence, especially in genres in which violence does not always have a central place, such as sitcoms. Second, though random procedures were used to arrive upon the final sample, the sample is not truly representative of the media content that was published or broadcast over the twenty-one year period (1979-1999) because of the reliance on Lexis Nexis archives for much of the analysis. There were substantial gaps in the available data in the Lexis Nexis database that compromise the generalizability of these results. Furthermore, analyzing the Lexis Nexis articles rather than actual newspapers, newsmagazines, or television newscasts limits the types of content that can be coded reliably. For example, it is possible that not

Authors: Scharrer, Erica.
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violent events in the news, either in the form of newspapers, newsmagazines, or
television news, is not significantly related to actual levels of violence in the nation at the
time, according to FBI Uniform Crime Reports. Presence of violence in the news is also
unrelated to either the expression of governmental concern with or news coverage of the
issue of media violence as a social problem. Once again, therefore, it seems as though the
inclusion of violent stories in the news, most likely about crime (Chermak, 1998;
Sorenson, et al., 1998; Stepp, 1998; Williams & Dickinson, 1993), is a common practice
that occurs independently from scrutiny of the issue of media violence in general.
There are certainly limitations to this study that the reader should keep in mind
when considering the results. First, the reliance for the analysis of primetime television
violence on TV Guide synopses sets strict boundaries on the conclusions generated from
the primetime television-related results. As Clark and Blankenburg (1972) found,
violence in TV Guide synopses relates to actual numbers of acts of violence in programs,
yet also consistently underestimates the real presence of violence, especially in genres in
which violence does not always have a central place, such as sitcoms. Second, though
random procedures were used to arrive upon the final sample, the sample is not truly
representative of the media content that was published or broadcast over the twenty-one
year period (1979-1999) because of the reliance on Lexis Nexis archives for much of the
analysis. There were substantial gaps in the available data in the Lexis Nexis database
that compromise the generalizability of these results. Furthermore, analyzing the Lexis
Nexis articles rather than actual newspapers, newsmagazines, or television newscasts
limits the types of content that can be coded reliably. For example, it is possible that not


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