Criminology, Criminal Justice Law & Society Breaking News of Social Problems: Examining Media Consumption and Student Beliefs about School Shootings

H Elsass, H Elsass, Jaclyn Schildkraut, Mark Stafford
2014 VOLUME   unpublished
School shootings are considered by many to be a social problem in need of a solution. While episodic in nature, they generate fear and concern, particularly as a result of the amount of attention they garner by and through the media. The present study explores the relationship between college students' media consumption and their beliefs that school shootings are a problem in the United States. A survey was administered to 442 university students in fall 2012 and included measures of specific
more » ... des through which media is consumed, including television, newspaper, and social media, which then were analyzed to assess such a relationship. The results indicate that social media-Twitter in particular-are significant predictors of students' beliefs about school shootings. These findings also represent an important shift in media production that encourages a more participatory discourse with audience members. Implications for journalistic practices, study limitations, and directions for future research also are discussed.