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Covering Crime in Washington D.C: Examining the Nature of Local Television News Coverge of Crime and Its Effect on Emotional Response

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This paper examines the nature of local television news coverage of crime and its effects on emotional response. Specifically, I present the results of a content analysis of two months of local television news coverage of crime from a network affiliate in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Consistent with what others have found regarding local television news, I find that most local news crime stories are episodic in nature and focus on violent crime, particularly murder. Moreover, there is a specific racial cast to this coverage – significant attention is given to black perpetrators while black victims are undercovered. Using an experiment that compared two types of crime stories taken from the content analysis to explore how coverage influences viewers’ emotional reactions, I find, contrary to my expectation, that a thematic story about violent crime generates greater and more varied emotional response than an episodic story dealing with a specific murder. When I vary the race of the perpetrator portrayed in the episodic story to try to examine the influence of the prevalence of visuals of black perpetrators in the crime coverage, I do not find differences in how participants in this study respond to the murder story based on the race of the perpetrator. I discuss the implications of my findings and suggest future directions for this research.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

crime (255), news (183), stori (182), emot (175), frame (163), coverag (128), local (119), respons (108), perpetr (103), black (102), episod (96), violent (85), televis (78), victim (77), effect (74), differ (68), may (67), themat (65), individu (63), race (60), result (58),
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Name: American Political Science Association
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Gross, Kimberly. "Covering Crime in Washington D.C: Examining the Nature of Local Television News Coverge of Crime and Its Effect on Emotional Response" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Marriott, Loews Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA, Aug 31, 2006 <Not Available>. 2013-12-16 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p152418_index.html>

APA Citation:

Gross, K. A. , 2006-08-31 "Covering Crime in Washington D.C: Examining the Nature of Local Television News Coverge of Crime and Its Effect on Emotional Response" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Marriott, Loews Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA Online <PDF>. 2013-12-16 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p152418_index.html

Publication Type: Proceeding
Abstract: This paper examines the nature of local television news coverage of crime and its effects on emotional response. Specifically, I present the results of a content analysis of two months of local television news coverage of crime from a network affiliate in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Consistent with what others have found regarding local television news, I find that most local news crime stories are episodic in nature and focus on violent crime, particularly murder. Moreover, there is a specific racial cast to this coverage – significant attention is given to black perpetrators while black victims are undercovered. Using an experiment that compared two types of crime stories taken from the content analysis to explore how coverage influences viewers’ emotional reactions, I find, contrary to my expectation, that a thematic story about violent crime generates greater and more varied emotional response than an episodic story dealing with a specific murder. When I vary the race of the perpetrator portrayed in the episodic story to try to examine the influence of the prevalence of visuals of black perpetrators in the crime coverage, I do not find differences in how participants in this study respond to the murder story based on the race of the perpetrator. I discuss the implications of my findings and suggest future directions for this research.

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Associated Document Available American Political Science Association

Document Type: PDF
Page count: 54
Word count: 19480
Text sample:
Covering Crime in Washington D.C.: Examining the Nature of Local Television News Coverage of Crime and its Effect on Emotional Response Kimberly Gross Paper prepared for presentation at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association Philadelphia PA August 31-September 3. Please direct all correspondence regarding this paper to: Kimberly Gross School of Media and Public Affairs George Washington University 805 21st Street NW Suite 400 Washington DC 20052. Phone: 202-994-0387. Fax: 202-994-5806. Email: kimgross@gwu.edu Abstract This
Crime Story Story Story Story Richard Gluckstern Richard Gluckstern Richard Gluckstern Murder Rate in Prince murder story with no murder story with murder story with George’s County mug shot of the mug shot of the mug shot of the suspect suspect suspect (white suspect) (black suspect) 53 54


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