Date of Award
Master of Science
Missing persons in the United States has a continued problem as to who receives media coverage for their cases. The first forms of media coverage for missing person’s cases were focused through milk carton campaigns, then moved to the AMBER Alert and Silver Alert systems, and now are currently geared toward television news and internet sources to include both missing children and adults. Previous studies have discussed the influence that race has on media coverage of a missing person’s case but has neglected to discuss factors that differ from demographics. Identifying behavioral factors that may influence why a missing person may receive a certain amount of media coverage regarding their case could prevent further bias from media outlets and investigating agencies. The current study analyzed 53 variables from 545 missing female cases from 2000-2018 from the NamUs database including both demographic factors and behavioral factors that could affect the number of Google News Search results and Google Search results they received. The study shows that 11 variables that did not include race significantly contribute to the amount of media coverage a missing female would receive. This study's results differ from previous research as race is the main factor for media coverage a missing female’s case receives. These findings shed light on the fact that behavioral factors are important to media outlets when evaluating the newsworthiness of a missing female’s case rather than just the racial identity of the missing individual.
Jennifer Kay Beatty
Beatty, Jennifer Kay, "The sociology of missing women: Evidence from the national missing and unidentified persons system" (2021). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 18456.