An Analysis of the Media’s Coverage of the Columbine High School and Sandy Hook Elementary School Shootings

Joffe, Mara (2014) An Analysis of the Media’s Coverage of the Columbine High School and Sandy Hook Elementary School Shootings. Undergraduate thesis, under the direction of Dr. Kathleen W. Wickham from Meek School of Journalism and New Media, The University of Mississippi.


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The primary purpose of the current research was to determine what ethical challenges have evolved for journalists covering breaking news stories, focusing on the differences in print coverage between the 1999 Columbine school shooting and the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. A total of 435 news stories originating from the Denver Post, the Hartford Courant and the Chicago Tribune were used in the analysis, categorized by type, main point, length and tone of each article. Overall, several of the findings were consistent with the literature. Two results hold major implications for the journalism field. First, the increase in interpretive, opinion pieces shows a change in the role of the modern journalist, such that journalists now place a higher priority on telling the public what to think, rather than what to think about. Second, the advent of online and social media has created new obstacles for journalists covering breaking news.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Creators: Joffe, Mara
Student's Degree Program(s): B.A.J. in Journalism
Thesis Advisor: Dr. Kathleen W. Wickham
Thesis Advisor's Department: Meek School of Journalism and New Media
Institution: The University of Mississippi
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
E History America > E151 United States (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Depositing User: Mara Joffe
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2014 13:43
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2014 14:01

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