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Comparing Large and Small Metropolitan Newspaper Coverage of Delinquency with Arrest Data: Differential Coverage or More of the Same?

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Studies Volume: 24 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2011 Pages: 269-290
Gayle M. Rhineberger-Dunna
Date Published
September 2011
22 pages
This study examined the media coverage of juveniles in small metropolitan areas.
It is generally assumed and expected that newspapers do not portray an accurate picture of crime. However, little research exists to confirm this misrepresentation as it relates to juvenile offenders in small compared to large metropolitan areas. The purpose of this study is to assess how accurate small and large Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) newspapers are in their depiction of juvenile offenders compared to Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data and whether or not the degree of accuracy differs across different sized metropolitan areas. An analysis of 953 articles reveals that small and large MSAs differentially cover juvenile offenders and that this coverage differs by gender. It is equally clear that newspaper coverage of delinquency in both small and large MSAs does not accurately represent arrest statistics and that this accuracy also differs by both MSA size and gender. (Published Abstract)