Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kritzer & Drechsel on News Reporting of Civil Litigation

Professors Herbert M. Kritzer (University of Minnesota Law School) and Robert E. Drechsel (University of Wisconsin, Madison, School of Journalism & Mass Communication) have posted "A Portrait of Local News Reporting of Civil Litigation" on SSRN.

The abstract states:

What is the nature of the coverage of civil litigation by local newspapers and local television? That is the question considered in this paper. Drawing upon news clips from 2004 (11 media markets around the U.S.), 2006 (9 media markets in the Midwest), and 2007 (9 media markets in the Midwest), we present a portrait of litigation as locally reported. We find (a) torts make up a minority of reports, (b) very few verdicts are reported, and (c) dollar figures are mentioned in a modest proportion of cases but when mentioned tend to be large. We also find significant differences in the reporting practices of local television and local newspapers, particularly with regard to the types of cases discussed (more torts on television and more cases against government in the newspapers). We conclude with some speculations about the implications of our analysis for debates over civil justice “reform.”


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