Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

John Cochran, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael Lynch, Ph.D.

Committee Member

H. Roy Kaplan, Ph.D.


Law Enforcement, Lethal Force, News, Deadly Force


The focus of this study is on media reporting of police involved shootings in Florida. Given that knowledge of killings committed by law enforcement are frequently restricted to what people get from news sources, it is important to investigate the way these messages are being communicated. An exploratory analysis of 199 articles and transcripts covering 86 cases relevant to deadly use of force by police officers as reported from 2013 to 2015 provided the primary data source. The analysis engaged a critical examination of media content and goodness of fit models to identify commonalities used by the media when reporting police involved shootings. The goal is to determine the potential impact of race, age and gender of a victim with regard to the media’s portrayal of events that result in lethal use of force by police. It is expected that exposure of the discoveries in this study will influence future law enforcement reporting systems for a more transparent relationship between police, news and the community. The demographics characteristics race, sex and age that were assessed in this study were not significantly associated with the length of media coverage on police involved shootings. However, further analysis using different modeling approaches are required for a better understanding as to whether a relationship exists.