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Violent Media Content: A Cross-Media, Longitundinal Analysis
Unformatted Document Text:  6 crime is the dominant topic in television news and violent crime is the dominant type of crime shown. Furthermore, violent crime-related stories tended to be treated as highly newsworthy, appearing in the first or second segments of the newscast. Similarly, Randall, Lee-Sammons, and Hagner (1988) examined the nightly network newscasts on ABC, CBS, and NBC over 13 years and determined that crime stories occupied an average of approximately 60 seconds per newscast. No significant differences among networks were found. It is estimated that crime stories typically account for one-third of all newspaper items (Stepp, 1998). Yet, the vast majority of scholarly attention to the treatment of violence in newspapers focuses on specific types of crimes or violent incidents, rather than amount of violence overall. In one exception to that rule, Chermak (1998) analyzed the types of crimes that are covered in newspapers and determined that the best predictors of coverage are numbers of victims affected by the crime and the type of offense. In another, Williams and Dickinson (1993) examined a one-week sample of the top-ten daily newspapers in England and found that, on average, 12.7% of the “newhole” was devoted to crime, the majority of which (65%) involves violent crime against people. They also found that such “personal violent crime” is often featured prominently, accounting for about 14% of the space on the front page. Finally, Sorenson, Manz and Berk (1998) found that the Los Angeles Times covered 29% of all the homicides that local records revealed had occurred in Los Angeles County between 1990 and 1994. They found that homicides occurring in wealthier neighborhoods and being perpetrated by strangers were more likely to be covered whereas those with Black or Latino victims or victims with less than a high school education were less likely to be covered.

Authors: Scharrer, Erica.
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crime is the dominant topic in television news and violent crime is the dominant type of
crime shown. Furthermore, violent crime-related stories tended to be treated as highly
newsworthy, appearing in the first or second segments of the newscast. Similarly,
Randall, Lee-Sammons, and Hagner (1988) examined the nightly network newscasts on
ABC, CBS, and NBC over 13 years and determined that crime stories occupied an
average of approximately 60 seconds per newscast. No significant differences among
networks were found.
It is estimated that crime stories typically account for one-third of all newspaper
items (Stepp, 1998). Yet, the vast majority of scholarly attention to the treatment of
violence in newspapers focuses on specific types of crimes or violent incidents, rather
than amount of violence overall. In one exception to that rule, Chermak (1998) analyzed
the types of crimes that are covered in newspapers and determined that the best predictors
of coverage are numbers of victims affected by the crime and the type of offense. In
another, Williams and Dickinson (1993) examined a one-week sample of the top-ten
daily newspapers in England and found that, on average, 12.7% of the “newhole” was
devoted to crime, the majority of which (65%) involves violent crime against people.
They also found that such “personal violent crime” is often featured prominently,
accounting for about 14% of the space on the front page. Finally, Sorenson, Manz and
Berk (1998) found that the Los Angeles Times covered 29% of all the homicides that
local records revealed had occurred in Los Angeles County between 1990 and 1994.
They found that homicides occurring in wealthier neighborhoods and being perpetrated
by strangers were more likely to be covered whereas those with Black or Latino victims
or victims with less than a high school education were less likely to be covered.


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