Date of Degree

5-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Criminal Justice

Advisor

Joshua Freilich

Committee Members

Amy Adamczyk

Eric Piza

Steven Chermak

Subject Categories

Criminology

Keywords

mass shooting, mass media, social construction, agenda setting, framing

Abstract

This study examines the reality and news media coverage of all mass shootings in the United States from 1966 to 2016. It employs agenda-setting and framing theoretical frameworks to determine the social construction of mass shootings via the mass media. The project uses open-source data to create a comprehensive list of mass shooting incidents. It then identifies all published New York Times articles on each incident. The study summarizes both the reality of the social problem (i.e. incidents) and the news mediated reality (i.e. New York Times). Next, this dissertation conducts a media distortion analysis to determine the perpetrator, motivation, and incident characteristics influencing media selection, prominence, and framing. The purpose is to illustrate the media’s social construction of mass shootings that in turn shapes public perceptions, political discourse, and public policies. The study concludes by highlighting the findings and implications for scholars, practitioners, policy-makers, media outlets, and the general public.

Included in

Criminology Commons

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