Change and the illusion of change: Evolving portrayals of crime news and blacks in a major market

Kirk A. Johnson, Travis L. Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Content analyses of news about Blacks are numerous, but few compare content over time in mainstream and Black-owned media organizations in a single market. This report analyzes local news items from Boston media during 30-day periods in 1986 and 2001. Although crime news concerning Blacks was less frequent in 2001, it dominated mainstream news about Blacks in both years despite journalists' pledges to overhaul racial-news coverage after questionable reporting of a racially charged insurance hoax in 1989. Conversely, story selection in New England's oldest Black newspaper showed dramatic change. These findings are consistent with organizational change theory, and add nuance to Wilson and Gutierrez's (1985) model of the evolution of mainstream coverage of minorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-143
Number of pages19
JournalHoward Journal of Communications
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2008

Keywords

  • Black press
  • Blacks
  • Boston media
  • Charles Stuart
  • News

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management

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