Date Presented

Spring 3-29-2013

Document Type


Access Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Communication Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Jimmy Roux

Second Advisor

Dr. Cheryl Jorgensen-Earp

Third Advisor

Dr. Daniel Messerschmidt


In a society where violent crime is rampant, the media have varying effects on public peace of mind all over the United States. News reports are viewed via television broadcast, print publication, and with other convergent components that evolve with technological developments; the factors of each medium can determine the viewer’s perception of a given story. Through extensive research and survey results of students at a mid-Atlantic liberal arts institution, this study explores the relationship between media coverage of violent crimes and the public’s response to such coverage by answering several questions: (1) do the United States mass media distort our perception of the reality of violent crime? (2) Does the medium of communication used for violent crime reports determine how alarmed a viewer feels? (3) Do viewers believe the media operate as any other businesses? (4) Do males and females respond differently to violent crime reports in the media? (5) Is the public’s trust in distorted mass media an effect of people’s immersion in the American culture? And (6) is violent crime distortion in the media and its effect on the public constant among all news sources? A quantitative-qualitative mixed-form analysis of viewer attitudes toward media and culture will seek to reflect how the distortion of violent crime by the media could affect and even manipulate the public.