“THE SON OF SAM” IN THE NEW YORK TIMES: CONTENT ANALYSIS RESULTS

Abstract


The article aims at the study of the representation of serial killer David Berkowitz (The Son of Sam) in The New York Times using content analysis. The research includes all newspaper articles that have been published from the time of the first murder and until the judgment of the court. During the research the author analyzes not only exterior characteristics of the articles (genre, photographs, comments, etc.) but also interior characteristics created by the author (evaluative and descriptive elements, character properties). The author assumes that the newspaper intentionally or unintentionally creates an appealing image of the killer using different methods and linguistic techniques. Statistical data that we have obtained allow us to assert that the author`s hypothesis is confirmed. In particular, the author finds out that The New York Times journalists depict David Berkowitz as a worldwide celebrity and a mystic monster and endow him with supernatural properties and outstanding abilities. Such depiction has a great influence on the audience`s perception of the killer. Many examples of the killer`s psychological aggression in the newspaper allow us to assert that The New York Times is partly responsible for the panic in New York City during a yearlong Son of Sam shooting spree.

About the authors

L V Katkova

Lomonosov Moscow State University

Leninskiye Gory, 1, Moscow, Russia, 119991

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Copyright (c) 2016 Каткова Л.В.

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