An examination of big-city newspaper coverage of violent crimes in small towns during a recent five-year period reveals a remarkable degree of uniformity in the language reporters use to characterize life in these places. The clichés signal an underlying set of stereotypes of small-town life: They are safe, close-knit communities where bad things are "not supposed to happen." Yet the point of the stories is that bad things do happen. Drawing upon culturological and sociological approaches to the study of news production, this paper argues that the small towns described in the news are symbolic landscapes that reflect a pastoral orientation among journalists and in the culture at large.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||24|
|State||Published - Jun 1 2003|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science