The purpose of this paper is to provide a systematic review of the literature examining the role of news media consumption and awareness in shaping public attitudes about police.
A comprehensive, systematic search of multiple academic databases (e.g. EBSCO Host) was undertaken, supplemented by the use of Google Scholar to search among journals indicated as having cited the articles found in the databases.
A total of 42 studies were identified that met the selection criteria for this meta-review and examined exposure to high-profile incidents involving police, awareness of negative news coverage of police, and/or consumption of specific news mediums (e.g. newspapers). Overall, research supports a relationship between negative perceptions of police and both exposure to high-profile incidents and awareness of negative coverage. Some support for the influence of consuming television news on attitudes exists, but more research is needed on the role of different news sources in shaping perceptions. Future research should also include determining causal pathways and how news about police is selected.
This is the first meta-review of the research examining how news media and attitudes about police are related. This study will provide a useful resource for those researchers wishing to continue to examine different aspects of news media consumption as a predictor of perceptions.
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