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ERIC Number: EJ784308
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Jun
Pages: 24
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 88
ISSN: ISSN-0036-0112
When Bad Things Happen in Good Places: Pastoralism in Big-City Newspaper Coverage of Small-Town Violence
Frank, Russell
Rural Sociology, v68 n2 p207-230 Jun 2003
An examination of big-city newspaper coverage of violent crimes in small towns during a recent five-year period reveals a remarkable degree of uniformity in the language reporters use to characterize life in these places. The cliches signal an underlying set of stereotypes of small-town life: They are safe, close-knit communities where bad things are "not supposed to happen." Yet the point of the stories is that bad things do happen. Drawing upon culturological and sociological approaches to the study of news production, this paper argues that the small towns described in the news are symbolic landscapes that reflect a pastoral orientation among journalists and in the culture at large. (Contains 2 tables and 5 footnotes.)
Rural Sociological Society. 104 Gentry Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211-7040. Tel: 573-882-9065; Fax: 573-882-1473; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States