Newspaper Coverage of the Police: Past and Present

Brendan Maguire, Western Illinois University

Has newspaper coverage of the police and their activities changed over the past fifty years? This study provides a content analysis of police stories contained in newspapers from various sized communities with a special emphasis on comparisons between 1954 and 2004. The present paper answers two specific questions: (1) Are police stories today more likely than in the past to focus on an association between the police and violent crime? and (2) Are there more negative police stories today than in the past?

(Return to Program Resources)

Updated 05/20/2006