Kyla Renay Whitehead


Presentation: 3:00 p.m.-4:15 p.m., Kennedy Union Ballroom



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Technology has made news media a universal phenomenon in covering police-citizen interactions. Critics have pointed out biases in their reporting. However, this speculation has yet to be tested empirically. The current study aimed to address this gap by using content analysis to shed light on the media’s dialect when reporting fatal police-citizen interactions. Using content analysis and convenience sampling, the study identified the first 10 articles related to four high-profile cases (i.e., Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, and Casey Goodsen Jr.) from three news sites that encompassed media value in relation to political bias and reliability in relation to the range of opinion and fact reporting. The procedures included categorizing the title of each article as using positive, negative, and neutral language. Preliminary findings show that 32.3% of news sources portrayed the police involved in fatal citizen interactions using positive language and 41.9% using neutral language. In contrast, only 25.8% of the news sources used negative language. Although claims of the demonization of the police in the media have been used in recent debates, the findings of this study do not support these arguments.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Capstone Project

Primary Advisor

Susybel R. Kallsen

Primary Advisor's Department

Criminal Justice and Security Studies


Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions; Quality Education

Media Portrayal of the Police Resulting in Fatal Citizen Interactions