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Media Coverage outside the Courtroom: Public opinion of restrictions imposed on news journalists and psychological effects on crime victims

Show simple item record Fusco, Nina Marie 2019-04-08T20:56:19Z 2019-04-08T20:56:19Z 2011
dc.identifier.citation Fusco, N. (2011). Media Coverage outside the Courtroom: Public opinion of restrictions imposed on news journalists and psychological effects on crime victims [Dissertation]. Université de Montréal, 106 pgs. Retrieved from en_US
dc.description Dissertation en_US
dc.description.abstract As media coverage has been shown to influence virtually everyone that it reaches, from its consumers to jurors in cases with pretrial publicity to eyewitnesses, the two studies that comprise the present dissertation respectively investigated the public’s opinion on imposing restrictions on the media in courthouses and the impact of media coverage on the mental health of crime victims. The Quebec government recently imposed restrictions on the media in courthouses in order to reduce the interference of journalists and cameramen. While the issue reached the Supreme Court of Canada, the public were found to be largely in favour of these restrictions in a preliminary study (Sabourin, 2006). The first part of this dissertation sought to further investigate this topic with a more representative sample of the population. Two hundred forty three participants in six experimental groups filled out questionnaires that measured their opinion of these restrictions. There were two conditions with audiovisual clips showing either a media circus-like atmosphere or relatively calm proceedings in Quebec courthouses. A third control group did not view any audiovisual clips. There were also two versions of the twenty item questionnaire where the questions were presented in reverse order. This study also found overwhelming support for the restrictions; nearly 79 percent of participants supported restricting media presence in courthouses. Interestingly, one experimental group did not – the control group that read statements that supported an absence of restrictions first. The second component of this dissertation examined the impact of the media on crime victims. Crime victims have been shown to be especially susceptible to mental health problems. Indeed, they are three times as likely as the general population to develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). One study confirmed this finding and found that crime victims who had negative impressions of the media coverage of their cases had the highest rates of PTSD (Maercker & Mehr, 2006). In the present study, twenty-three crime victims were interviewed using a narrative technique and completed two questionnaires that respectively measured their PTSD symptoms and anxiety. A great proportion of participants were found to have mental health symptoms and high scores on the Impact of Events Scale Revised (IES-R). The majority of the narratives of these participants were negative. The most common themes included in these narratives were self-blame and suspiciousness of others. Media coverage did not appear to be related to any mental health symptoms, although individual factors may explain why some participants were favourable towards the coverage and others were not. The findings of these two studies suggest that the public approves of restricting media presence in courthouses and that individual factors may explain how media coverage impacts crime victims. These results add to the literature that calls current practices used by the media to gain coverage into question. (Author Abstract) en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher Université de Montréal en_US
dc.subject Research en_US
dc.subject Adult en_US
dc.subject Victim en_US
dc.subject Trauma en_US
dc.subject PTSD en_US
dc.subject Posttraumatic Stress en_US
dc.subject Post-Traumatic Stress en_US
dc.subject Post Traumatic Stress Disorder en_US
dc.subject Revictimization en_US
dc.subject Secondary Victimization en_US
dc.subject Triggering en_US
dc.subject Psychological Consequences en_US
dc.subject International en_US
dc.subject Canada en_US
dc.subject Media Coverage en_US
dc.subject Media Attention en_US
dc.subject Journalism en_US
dc.subject Public Opinion en_US
dc.subject Community Attitudes en_US
dc.subject Community Perceptions en_US
dc.subject Publicity en_US
dc.subject Psychogical Burdens en_US
dc.subject Mental Wellness en_US
dc.title Media Coverage outside the Courtroom: Public opinion of restrictions imposed on news journalists and psychological effects on crime victims en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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