Public Information Officers - A Descriptive Study Of Crime News Gatekeepers
Abbreviated Journal Title
J. Crim. Justice
Criminology & Penology
Criminal justice public information officers have emerged as a new criminal justice specialty and key gatekeepers in the flow of crime and justice information to news agencies and the public. Despite their gatekeeping role, they have not been examined regarding their specific attitudes, backgrounds, training, or tasks. As an initial step in addressing this deficiency, the results of a survey of Florida public information officers are reported. Public information officers divide into two groups of civilian and sworn officers. Sworn public information officers tend to be males who have educational backgrounds in criminal justice and little or no media-related experience prior to becoming public information officers. Civilian public information officers tend to be females who have educational backgrounds in communications and often have prior media-related experience. Irrespective of these differences, both groups agree about their daily tasks and the skills needed to perform their tasks and on an additional number of attitudes concerning their work. One of the more important differences between sworn and civilian public information officers is in the greater job satisfaction that civilian public information officers hold (despite being generally paid less) when compared with their sworn officer counterparts. Exploration of the difference in job satisfaction reveals that it is associated more with perceptions of a positive relationship with the media, the impact the public information officer feels he or she has in the agency, and their level of education than with either civilian or sworn status. Lastly, the overall results suggest a number of research hypotheses to pursue. Both theoretically and pragmatically of interest is whether a sworn/civilian structural division in the profession results in differences in the gatekeeping function of public information officers. The crucial issue concerns the generation of crime and justice news and whether sworn and civilian public information officers select different crimes or package the same crime differently for news dissemination and public consumption.
Journal of Criminal Justice
"Public Information Officers - A Descriptive Study Of Crime News Gatekeepers" (1995). Faculty Bibliography 1990s. 1476.