Covering Crime in Washington, D.C.

By Kimberly Gross

A paper by Kimberly Gross, spring 2006 fellow, examines the nature of local television news coverage of crime and its effects on emotional response. Gross presents 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, she finds 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 under-covered. Gross also examines the influence of visuals of black perpetrators on emotional response to news stories.

Download the paper (PDF).