Television Newsmagazine Coverage of Child Sexual Abuse: 1990-2005Yael Shavit1, Aaron Q Weinstein2, Zachary Reiss-Davis3 and Ross E Cheit4*
- *Corresponding Author:
- Ross E Cheit
Professor of Public Policy and Political Science
Brown University, USA
E-mail: [email protected]
Received Date: February 27, 2014; Accepted Date: May 22, 2014; Published Date: May 31, 2014
Citation: Shavit Y, Weinstein AQ, Reiss-Davis Z, Cheit RE (2014) Television Newsmagazines Coverage of Child Sexual Abuse: 1990-2005. J Mass Communicat Journalism 4:196. doi:10.4172/2165-7912.1000196
Copyright: © 2014 Shavit Y, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Objective: There were two aims: first, to analyze trends in television newsmagazine coverage of child sexual assault (CSA) between 1990 and 2005; and second, to offer comparisons between this study and our previous work on print newsmagazine CSA coverage. Method: A database was created to identify all relevant CSA stories appearing in seven primetime television newsmagazines. The study employs systematic analysis of segments by subject, length, and individual anchoring each broadcast. Results: The results affirm established theories of CSA media coverage. Television segments contain an average of three news worthiness factors, which is more than was found of print newsmagazines. Findings also show differences in slant between the top three anchors (Dan Rather, Stone Phillips, and Barbara Walters), indicating significant editorial control in newsmagazine CSA coverage. Finally, this study shows that television news magazines offer more polarized coverage than print newsmagazines, and on different subjects (i.e. focusing on Michael Jackson, whereas print focuses on the Church sex abuse cover-up story). Conclusions: Television news magazines offer skewed coverage of CSA. Like other media, they focus on "newsworthy" stories ("stranger-danger") rather than the most prevalent forms of CSA (intra-familial abuse). Given that this newsmagazine coverage is more polarized than print, however, we suggest that this coverage may have real impacts upon public policy and its implementation.