Document Type

Student Research Paper


Spring 2021

Academic Department


Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Michele Lee Kozimor and Dr. Kirsten Johnson


The United States holds only five percent of the world’s population, but surprisingly 31 percent of global mass shootings. Previous literature defines a mass shooting as an incident where at least four individuals are shot and a mass murder as an incident where at least four individuals are killed. Mass shootings have been found to occur in bunches due to the exposure of mass shootings inspiring copycat shootings. Such inspiration has been potentially linked to media coverage of these events thus giving them “accidental advertising”. Limited research has empirically examined the news coverage of mass shootings through a content analysis. This exploratory research used quantitative and thematic content analysis to examine two qualitatively different mass shootings, the Las Vegas Concert shooting and the Dayton Nightclub shooting, and the news coverage of each event. The data for this research were obtained from a content analysis of articles from a local Las Vegas news website, The Las Vegas Sun, a local Dayton, OH news website, The Dayton Daily News, and AP News. Results will be presented and compared to the proposed guidelines for the coverage of mass shootings by media organizations.


Honors Senior Thesis; COM 400 Honors in the Discipline; SO 400 Senior Project in Sociology; Scholarship and Creative Arts Day (SCAD); Mid Atlantic Undergraduate Social Research Conference