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Newspaper Selection Bias in Phoenix Homicides
AdvisorPeoples, Clayton D.
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The present study examines media selection bias in newspaper coverage of homicides in Phoenix, AZ, 2003-2005, by suspect and victim race. It replicates similar research conducted in Columbus, OH (Lundman, 2003), and Newark, NJ (Gruenewald et al., 2009), but fills a significant void in this literature by examining a city in which Whites are the majority and Latinos are the largest minority--a pattern that exists in many major U.S. cities and reflects the demographics of the U.S. as a whole. Drawing from the literature on crime and media selection bias, three major sets of hypotheses are derived and tested: that homicide newsworthiness (and, by extension, newspaper coverage) is a function of (1) relative frequency of homicide across racial groups, (2) cultural typifications attached to racial groups, and/or (3) status deviance. Findings partially support the relative frequency and cultural typification hypotheses, and strongly support the status deviance hypothesis. Implications of the findings for our understanding of media selection bias are discussed.