Crime was the most common subject “by far” of lead stories of Los Angeles television stations on 14 random days studied last summer, says a new report from the Norman Lear Center of the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. The most common topic by far was crime. One out of three broadcasts led with it. Nearly half of the stories were about murder, robbery, assault, kidnapping, property crime, traffic crime, and other common crime. One fourth of the crime leads were about celebrity crime, and one fourth were about crimes that didn't take place in the Los Angeles media market.
The study compared television coverage to news coverage in the Los Angeles Times, where 14 percent of front page stories involved crime. The front page coverage of crime taking place outside of Los Angeles, 8 percent, was about the same as the frequency of lead TV stories, 7 percent. Only 2 1/2 percent of TV lead stories were about government.