Title page for ETD etd-04132005-085105

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Blanchard, Tobie Marie
URN etd-04132005-085105
Title Are Murders Equal in the Eyes of the Media? A Study of Race, Gender, Class and Quality of Coverage
Degree Master of Mass Communication (M.M.C.)
Department Mass Communication
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Timothy Cook Committee Chair
Eileen Meehan Committee Member
Judith Sylvester Committee Member
  • content analysis
  • information subsidies
  • race and media
Date of Defense 2005-03-18
Availability unrestricted
Crime news is an important component of local news. A literature review suggested that the media’s coverage of crime news can reveal vital information about media routines and biases. The main issue in this study is race and the media. The subtext of crime news and how the media cover different races when dealing with crime can speak to the larger issues of race and the media. The primary focus of this study was to examine how the media cover victims of murder, but more specifically to investigate any differences that may exist in how they cover White and Black victims. The study also looked for differences in coverage according to gender and social class. A content analysis looked at articles about homicide victims from The Advocate. Interviews with reporters were conducted to determine how these reporters approach and cover murders. Interviews with police media relations officers revealed how these officers disseminate information.

This study concluded that the media give White murder victims more prominent coverage than Black victims and female victims better coverage than male victims. The content analysis demonstrates that those who are most likely to be victimized, Black males, receive the least prominent coverage.

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