Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

U-M's Wolfers on study showing "outright hostility" toward women in economics

Savolainen links antisocial behavior in childhood to disadvantage and poverty in adulthood

Norton et al. put dollar value on relief from chronic pain for Americans age 50+

More News

Highlights

Viewing the eclipse from ISR-Thompson

Paula Fomby to succeed Jennifer Barber as Associate Director of PSC

PSC community celebrates Violet Elder's retirement from PSC

Neal Krause wins GSA's Robert Kleemeier Award

More Highlights

Rachel Best photo

Situation or Social Problem: The Influence of Events on Media Coverage of Homelessness

Publication Abstract

Best, Rachel. 2010. "Situation or Social Problem: The Influence of Events on Media Coverage of Homelessness." Social Problems, 57(1): 74-91.

Despite a strong interest in media coverage of social problems, sociologists have failed to examine when and why news outlets present issues as problems in need of public action within short time periods. Through content analysis of 475 newspaper articles and negative binomial regression, I show that coverage of homelessness varies in the extent to which it presents homelessness as a social problem. The fact that not all news coverage discusses social problems challenges the claim that social problems necessarily compete for attention in a zero-sum game. I also examine the effects of three types of events (events promoted to the media by their actors and high- and low-profile events not promoted by their actors) on newspapers' likelihood of describing homelessness as a social problem. While previous researchers predicted that events not promoted by their actors would lead to media coverage that challenged the status quo, I find that actor-promoted events are much more likely to do so. This finding highlights the importance of institutionalized action in calling attention to social problems.

DOI:10.1525/sp.2010.57.1.74 (Full Text)

Country of focus: United States of America.

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next