Blame it on the Race? Depictions of Youth Homicide Victims in Print News
Most studies on media coverage of homicide victims rely on aggregate samples of adults and youth. This talk focuses exclusively on media depictions of young homicide victims. Valerie Wright, an assistant professor in the Department of Criminology, Anthropology and Sociology at Cleveland State University, will discuss legal and extralegal factors that contribute to newspaper coverage of juvenile homicides, the extent to which victims’ race contribute to divergent amounts of coverage and depictions of victims and how blame is contextualized in print news. Stark racial differences are apparent. The newspaper’s representation of young African American males is consistent with existing stereotypes of “thecriminalblackman.” The implications of the findings will be discussed in light of several high-profile killings of young African Americans, including Trayvon Martin.