U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Newspapers' Portrayal of School Violence in South Africa

NCJ Number
Acta Criminologica Volume: 22 Issue: 1 Dated: 2009 Pages: 46-67
N C de Wet
Date Published
22 pages
Results are reported from a qualitative content study of newspaper articles on school violence in South Africa published from June to September 2008.
Analysis results indicate that South African newspapers report extensively on school violence. The newspaper articles paint a grim picture of learners, educators, and parents as perpetrators of school violence. The analysis shed light on the pervasiveness and gravity of the problem, as well as the cruelty of some of the acts committed by learners. Newspaper reports on school violence have shown the causes to be complex and multi-leveled. Two approaches to violence prevention were revealed in the content analysis: punitive and security measures. Given the large number of newspaper articles that report on school violence in South Africa and the power of newspapers in defining what should be seen as a problem, this study sought to answer the question of how newspapers portray school violence in South Africa. The research approach was qualitative. Content analysis, a systematic approach to qualitative data analysis, was used to identify and summarize the message content of the newspaper articles. Findings were presented into five categories: perpetrators of school violence; victims of school violence; the nature of school violence; the causes of school violence; and the prevention of school violence. References