Award Date

5-1-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

First Committee Member

Robert E. Parker

Second Committee Member

Lawrence J. Mullen

Third Committee Member

Christie D. Batson

Fourth Committee Member

Andrew L. Spivak

Number of Pages

363

Abstract

This quantitative research is a content analysis of network affiliate crime reporting statistics in Las Vegas. As part of this study, six months of news content in Las Vegas was recorded in order to gather pertinent sociological information about crime reporting techniques and its potential effects on public perceptions of crime and race. Pertinent issues such as media-image affect on viewers, biases within reporting information, and gatekeeping within the media are analyzed. This study adds substantive knowledge through empirical research to existing literature that asserts media depictions do shape and/or affect perceptions and attitudes about crime and race. Data sources consist of NBC, CBS, and ABC Las Vegas area newscasts. The results show there is a statistically significant relationship between the variables Suspect Image Shown and Race (among Hispanics and Blacks). This study has both local and national implications connected to ongoing top news story reports involving the killing of unarmed Black men – such as Michael Brown and Eric Garner – at the hands of police. Results of this analysis suggest its findings can be used to begat change in the manner in which journalists report details of crimes and alleged criminals. Suggestions for future research are also considered.

Keywords

Crime and the press; Ethnicity; News Media; Press; Public opinion; Race; Television broadcasting of news

Disciplines

Broadcast and Video Studies | Journalism Studies | Mass Communication | Sociology

Language

English


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