This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Child Abduction in Television News Media: A Content Analysis




Miller, Timothy

Type of Degree





Television news media can be a beneficial part of society. It allows for individuals to gain knowledge about what is occurring around them. When child abduction cases are presented to the public through television news media, is can be difficult for the television news outlet to not give in to sensationalism and present stories that will keep its audience tuning in time after time. This research determines if television news media disproportionately reports on nonfamily abduction (specifically stereotypical kidnappings) rather than abductions that are committed by family members. The type of victims portrayed in these cases that are reported are also determined. Reporting on non-family child abduction can give the viewer a false sense of how his or her reality truly is. A content analysis of child abduction cases from five major television news media outlets are analyzed during the period of 1970 to 2013. Demographics of the victims as well as cases are collected to determine what types of cases are more likely to be reported within television news media. The findings are then compared to statistics from the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children.