International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award

3-2018

Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Community Development and Planning (CDP)

Department

International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Jennifer M. Safford-Farquharson

Second Reader

Dorothy Swope

Abstract

This study consists of a comprehensive media analysis of local news in Worcester, Massachusetts that explores portrayals of youth criminality of an entire city’s local media landscape. It examines how local media portrayal of youth is primarily dominated by coverage of youth crime and youth victimization. As our nation is questioning our trust and reliability in ever-changing news, this study asks whether our local news, with the new platforms that are emerging, have been compromised in providing a fair portrayal of youth. Particularly, whether it fairly portrays Black and Latinx youth in representations of criminality proportional to crime occurring. During the period of analysis, the term “swerving” was established and used by the media to describe youth and bike-related crimes. This example shows how local media can fuel moral panics and perpetuate stereotypes of the “likely criminal”.

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