When bad things happen in good places: Pastoralism in big-city newspaper coverage of small-town violence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

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 languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-230
Number of pages24
JournalRural Sociology
Volume68
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'When bad things happen in good places: Pastoralism in big-city newspaper coverage of small-town violence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this