This essay explores the connections between the police, the media, and police reform throughout the course of American history. The aim of this project was to examine how the relationship between the police and the media has evolved over time and what impact, if any, this has had on public perception of policing and police reform. It was expected that these institutions would closely parallel each other during the course of their development. More specifically, it was expected that historically speaking, the changes in media over time have corresponded with the documentation or discovery of issues in policing that, in coordination with political and social movements, often result in efforts for police reform. The examination of police and media history did provide evidence of a complicated and long-lasting relationship that continues to keep the police and the media closely intertwined. It was also found that this complex relationship contributes significantly to police legitimacy and the public perception of the police. Furthermore, it was found that public pressure for police reform often follows advancements in media technology that increase police visibility and bring questionable police practices to the attention of the public.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 12-13-2016


Carl Root

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Justice Studies

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level