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News coverage of sexual offending in New Zealand, 2003.

The objective of this study was to assess the extent and nature of newspaper coverage of sexual offending in New Zealand in 2003. All news stories relating to sexual offending published in three daily newspapers (The New Zealand Herald, The Press, and The Dominion) were coded on a range of variables including article type, topic and frame of article, any reference to treatment, sources quoted in the report, and the type of offence mentioned. Overall there were 377 articles relating to sexual offending in the three newspapers. Most articles were either descriptions of offences/court reports (31.6%) or were related to specific offences or offenders (35.3%), with few articles focusing on either treatment (3.2%) or education and prevention (2.4%). The most frequent source for the articles were police or legal representatives (N=220) with few articles drawing on the comments and opinions of either mental health specialists (N=56) or academics (N=12). Consistent with prior research on crime reporting, there were a disproportionate number of high profile cases covered in the news, with nine cases capturing 22% of the total news coverage on sex offending in New Zealand in 2003. Some implications of these findings for clinicians and academics are discussed.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Thakker, J. & Durrant, R. (2006). News coverage of sexual offending in New Zealand, 2003. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 35(1), 28-35.
The New Zealand Psychological Society
This article has been published in the journal: New Zealand Journal of Psychology. Used with permission.