Research Paper Topic : The mass media’s depiction of crime and violence and how it is effecting our perceptions

For my semester research paper I have decided to focus on analyzing a particular sector of the mass media and how it effects the viewer’s perceptions. I would like to focus on the mass media depiction of the news, more specifically in focusing on the news’ delivery of stories about crime or violence. It seems that our society is becoming obsessed with hearing about grim and sad stories. Some would say that we have actually become numb to crime and violence due to the over-exposure and how often we see it on Tv and in newspapers. Public knowledge of crime and violence is now almost solely derived from the mass media or social media. Western society is fascinated with crime and justice. From films, books, newspapers, magazines, television broadcasts, to everyday conversations, we are constantly engaging in crime “talk”. The mass media plays an important role in the construction of criminality and the criminal justice system. The public’s perception of victims, criminals, deviants, and law enforcement officials is largely determined by their portrayal in the mass media. Watching violence has now become a popular form of entertainment and is greatly effecting how we think of violence in general. Technological advancements have also dramatically impacted how available and frequently seen these stories have become. Overall, my paper will start by discussing how the mass media portrays crime and violence, then how it is effecting our perceptions of it, is the depiction actually promoting more violence, how each person within the violence is depicted (victim, perpetrator, justice system), and lastly if we can ever get past this obsession and start to balance it out with good stories as well. 

One source on my work cited list so far is an article about media consumption and public attitudes towards crime and justice written by Kenneth Dowler, who works in the department of Criminal Justice and California State University. I found that this source will be a huge help in providing information for the foundation of my research. This essay completely maps out what I want to research. The essay focuses on fear of crime and punitive justice attitudes and  police effectiveness and relates it back to how the amount of media consumption effects how society determines their feelings towards it. This essay includes their full case study and its results. They focused on three main underlying questions which are…..

What is the relationship between media consumption and fear of crime?

What is the relationship between media consumption and punitive attitudes?

What is the relationship between media consumption and public ratings of police effectiveness?

The results of their study with be presented and used in my paper but overall their case study breaks this analysis and will provide very interesting statistics and conclusions in regards to who and how we are effected by the mass media. 

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