Analysis Of Steven Chermak's Ten Fallacies About Crime

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Research pertaining to crime in news media has increased, almost doubling from 1893-1959 to 1960-1986 (Marsh, 1989:508). Using Felson’s Ten Fallacies about Crime (__) as a point of comparison, this paper will attempt to explore both Steven Chermak’s article on the salience of crime stories with regards to crime, victim, and defendant characteristics, as well as Sacco and Kennedy’s perspective on crime in news media. This will attempt to reinforce the idea that news media has a tendency to adhere to these fallacies with regards to their coverage of crime. Chermak’s (1998) article Predicting Crime Story Salience: The Effects of Crime, Victim, and Defendant Characteristics examines how these characteristics affect the size and attention of crime…show more content…
Some of this research covers characteristics that could influence whether crime stories will be covered by the news (Chermak, 1998). Serious crimes such as murders are a higher priority (Cohen, 1975) compared to white-collar or property crimes that are less likely to be covered (Chermak, 1994). While there isn’t much coverage for drug-related offenses (Graber, 1980), some research suggests an increase (Chermak, 1994). Only three studies from thirty-six studies published from 1975 have used multivariate statistics and there aren’t many studies analysing crime incident characteristics from a sample containing all types of crime stories (Chermak, 1998). Crime news covers victim and defendant characteristics, typically victims are white, male, young, or elderly (Chermak, 1995) while defendants are African American and female (Barlow, Barlow, and Chiricos, 1995). There are more articles written about innocent victims and the seriousness of the offense. While some research states that the sex of the victim doesn’t have a big…show more content…
He uses multiple regression, which can be explains as an approach “...used to examine the relationship amongst variables .... [and] explain the variation of a dependent measurement by examining its relationship to a set of independent variables” (p.g. 65). This allows Chermak “ identify the important variables that increase salience [for importance] of crime stories” (p.g. ). He is able to “...[predict] the effect that a change on the independent variable (e.g. number of crimes) would have on a dependent variable (size or attention of crime stories), controlling for other independent variables (p.g. ). Data was collected from six newspapers from different-sized cities, a gap in research identified by Chermak. There are three categories, defined by city population and crime rate, that the cities were placed in: medium, large, and extra-large with two papers per category. Victim, crime, and defendant characteristics were analyzed in specific incident stories where the newspaper would cover the details of the

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