Neighborhood Context and Television News Viewers' Fear of Crime: An Exploration of Social Threat

Sarah Eschholz, Georgia State University
Ted Chiricos, Florida State University

ABSTRACT
Recent work in the area of media and fear of crime suggest that program content, audience traits and contextual variables all influence the relationship between local television news watching and viewers' fear of crime. Using variable content from three different local news programs, we examine whether respondents' perception of racial composition of their neighborhood, perception of crime in their neighborhood and actual victimization experience provides a mediating context for the local television new/fear relationship. This study utilizes a random telephone survey (with a deliberate over sampling of respondents who did not watch television news) of 2526 adults in the Orlando/Orange County area of Florida. Results are discussed in terms of "social threat."

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Updated 05/20/2006