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reporting was largely unchanged by the increased attention.15 Before, during and after the media’s concentration on the Simpson murders, coverage continued to describe incidents of domestic violence in isolation, without reference to domestic violence statistics; legislative, judicial, or law enforcement efforts related to domestic violence; or to domestic violence programs or experts who could explain the nature and scope of the domestic violence problem in America.16

S TATE-SPECIFIC E X AMINATIONS

32164-rcm_2-2 Sheet No. 48 Side B

The first post-O.J. study examined coverage of domestic violence homicides or attempted homicides during 1998 by newspapers in Washington state. 17 The study found that more than three-quarters of the articles portrayed the violence as isolated, without any reference to a history or pattern of abuse.18 Just 10 percent of stories placed the violence in the context of a larger social problem,19 and less than 5 percent quoted a domestic violence expert, a person who by virtue of education and experience is able to describe the nature of domestic violence.20 One in five stories relied upon the statements of neighbors or acquaintances, who commonly expressed shock that a seemingly normal perpetrator had committed an act of violence.21 The authors found that this reliance on neighbors and acquaintances resulted in reporting that incorrectly suggested the violence was inexplicable.22 Subsequent studies of domestic violence coverage in Utah newspapers found that almost half of all articles suggested some motivation or excuse for the perpetrator.23 Less than 40 percent used a descriptive term such as “domestic violence” or “domestic abuse.”24 Less than 4 percent put the violence into the context of the societal problem of domestic violence by mentioning statistics, or resources available for prevention, reporting or protection.25 The coverage depicted domestic violence fatalities as isolated incidents to be addressed by the police and courts, and not as incidents of a variety of violent crime that require public attention and action.26 Domestic violence experts were used as sources in less than 5 percent of articles,27 although such experts provided context in almost three-quarters of the stories in which they were used.28 A California study used similar quantitative methods to test feminist allegations of systemic anti-female bias in the reporting of domestic violence in the San Jose Mercury News and the Los Angeles Times during 2000.29 The study found that for every 100

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15. ,G. at 263-65. 16. ,G. 17. Cathy Ferrand Bullock & Jason Cubert, Coverage of domestic violence fatalities by newspapers in Washington State, 17 J. I NTERPERSONAL VIOLENCE . 475 (2000). 18. ,G at 483. 19. ,G 20. ,G at 486-89, Table 3. 21. ,G, Table 3 (at 487). 22. ,G at 490-92. 23. Cathy Ferrand Bullock, )UDPLQJ GRPHVWLF YLROHQFH IDWDOLWLHV &RYHUDJH E\ 8WDK QHZVSDSHUV. 30 WOMEN ’S S TUDIES IN C OMM . 34 (2007); Cathy Ferrand Bullock, 2I¿FLDO VRXUFHV GRPLQDWH YLROHQFH reporting. 29:2 NEWSPAPER R ESEARCH J. 6 (2008). 24. Bullock, Framing domestic violence fatalities (2007) at 40. 25. ,G at 46. 26. ,G. 27. Bullock, 2I¿FLDOVRXUFHVGRPLQDWHYLROHQFHUHSRUWLQJ (2008) at 13 (Table 1), 14. 28. ,G at 15. 29. McManus & Dorfman, Distracted by drama, supra note 3; McManus & Dorfman, Functional truth or

VOLUME 2, I SSUE 2

7/3/12 7:57 AM

Profile for The National Judicial College

Reynolds Courts & Media Law Journal, Spring 2012  

This issue of the Journal covers Facebook service, Judgespeak and more.

Reynolds Courts & Media Law Journal, Spring 2012  

This issue of the Journal covers Facebook service, Judgespeak and more.

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