ACCIDENT REPORTING IN THE MASS MEDIA: A PILOT STUDY

The manner in which the general public is informed about some aspects of road safety was investigated in a pilot study. The method of study consisted of a content analysis of accident reporting in the Kingston mass media (i.e. the Whig-Standard and CKLC and CKWS radio). The accident news reports, encompassing a three-month period in 1974, were categorized according to accident location, within the city limits or out-of-town. The in-town collision reports in the media were compared to the police reports pertaining to the same accidents and degree of information overlap was studied. The frequency of particular content categories in the media reports was also investigated for both in-town and out-of-town accidents. It was found that only a small proportion of all accident relevant information is conveyed to the public. The newspaper mentioned no more than approximately ten percent of all in-town accidents recorded by the police and radio stations even less. Moreover, the type of content of the news reports on accidents was judged to be of little educational value as these reports rarely mention factors that were contributory to accident occurrence or accident severity. In view of exploring possibilities of developing a more educational journalism, further research needs have been outlined. These include content analysis of current accident reporting style in a dozen communities in Ontario and Quebec, a readership analysis with special reference to accident reports, and an experimental study of the effects of a modified accident reporting style upon public concepts of the size and nature of the road accident problem.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Study sponsored by the Canadian Ministry of Transport, Road and Motor Vehicle Traffic Safety Office, Ottawa.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Queen's University, Ontario

    Department of Mechanical Engineering
    Kingston, Ontario  Canada  K7L 3N6
  • Authors:
    • Smith, C A
    • WILDE, GJS
  • Publication Date: 1975-9

Media Info

  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 46 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00132056
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Highway Safety Research Institute
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 5 1976 12:00AM