Reports & Research
Understanding Childhood Issues & Highlighting Them
Local Television News Media's Picture of Children, 2001
Oct 01, 2001
Download file: local_television_2001.pdf
As a primary source of public affairs information for most Americans, the news media have the capability not only to set the public agenda, but also to prime people to think about certain issues in certain ways. According to 2000 census data, only about 36% of American households are raising children. Thus, many Americans depend on the news media to inform them about the current conditions of children. However, an ever-growing body of research demonstrates that the news media routinely paint a distorted view of children. Local television news, in particular, plays a key role since the majority of adults get more of their news through local broadcasts than any other source. On the local news, children are more likely to be depicted in the context of crime and violence than through issues such as health, education, family and community life.
This report focuses on how local news broadcasts across the country cover children. It is the most comprehensive, nationally representative sample of local news about children and children’s issues to date.