Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2018

Degree Type

Capstone Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Studies (BA)


Cultural Studies

First Advisor

Douglas Reichert Powell

Second Advisor

Rob Watkins

Third Advisor

Kenneth Daley


This project analyzes the consolidation of crime coverage on the Chicago Tribune's digital platform with the aim to question the formulaic tendencies of news media as an institution. Specifically, the study examines the production of violent crime coverage in urban news media as following a particular "crime script" which, through the script's reliance on racial imagery in the form of mug shots, proliferates toxic correlations between the concepts 'black' and 'criminal.' Paired with elements of a political economic analysis, the project argues that this temp lated production of crime news mixed with news corporations' pursuit of profit ultimately works to racialize political discourse and marginalize communities of coior. This problematization of the morally upstanding nature of truthful, objective journalism in a capitalist system calls into question how journalists today can more thoughtfully report on the communities they serve and help restore a sense of virtue in the work that they do. 32 pages.