The Connection between Media and Scholarly Reports on Rampage School Shootings
Philip C Mongan, LCSW, Ph.D.

Mass shootings at primary and secondary schools command an immense amount of media coverage, due to their rarity and lethality. As these tragic events unfold citizens frequently demand answers, and the media – who is frequently the entity framing the circumstances surrounding these events – are tasked with providing responses to those questions. It is at this juncture that sensationalized information, or simply misinformation, can impact the internalization of perceptions regarding these rare occurrences. Subsequent externalizations from that sensationalized or faulty information – especially policy aimed at prevention – then has the potential to be impacted by that information.This study aimed to examine the factors that mainstream news articles and scholarly journal articles attribute to impacting the occurrence of rampage school shootings. This was done through a content analysis of eight of the most circulated print newspapers and newsmagazines, as well as the entire population of peer reviewed journal articles that discussed the phenomenon. Triangulation of the findings uncovered that there were differences in the factors the two types of sources discussed, as well as in how similar factors were discussed. Implications for these differences were then discussed through analyzing enacted policies that are intended to prevent these tragedies from occurring.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jsspi.v5n1a1