First Advisor

McGrath, Jack


College for Professional Studies

Degree Name

MS Criminology

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

77 pages


Research has been conducted for decades examining bias in the media, specifically toward targeted groups and organizations such as politicians and public agencies. The intention of this study is to examine written media news stories surrounding the time period of three local police chiefs from 2001 through 2011 to determine the existence of bias toward the Colorado Springs Police Department. The research conducted during this study adds to existing research and literature which assesses the unpredictable relationship between the police department and the media. It expands on the need for a police department to utilize its public information officer and public relations team to effectively communicate with the media while understanding that perception of bias could be occurring through what is known as the hostile media effect. Employing content analysis of words and context within a given article, little evidence of bias exists. While bias-indicating words appear most frequently in articles alluding to internal matters within the police department, which often involve investigations into one of their own, there is not enough conclusive evidence to show that prevalence of a biased word indicates slant toward the department. Therefore, the study expands on alternative methods for research and considerations as to why bias is perceived.

Date of Award

Spring 2012

Location (Creation)

Denver, Colorado

Rights Statement

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