Author(s) Birkland, Thomas A.
Lawrence, Regina G.
Year 2009
Title Media Framing and Policy Change After Columbine
Published in American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 52, No. 10
Pages 1405–1425
DOI 10.1177/0002764209332555
Abstract The 1999 Columbine school shooting incident in Colorado gained far more media attention across a broader range of issues than any school violence episode before or since. One might expect that Columbine would have had an influence on public opinion, public policy, and scholarship commensurate with the attention it gained. We find that the event did contribute in a limited but interesting way to scholarship on media framing. But the effect of Columbine on public opinion and the nature and substance of public policy was limited. Attention to school shootings peaked with Columbine, and the attention surrounding that event mostly spurred more rapid implementation of existing policies and tools that were already available to schools. In this article, the authors review first the media and public opinion research generated by Columbine; they then review the public policy research referencing Columbine and evaluate the “lessons” scholars have drawn from that event.
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