• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Group A: Mass media portrayals and glorification of gangs and similar criminal organizations

Page history last edited by cweaver8@gmu.edu 11 years, 3 months ago

Group Prospectus


      Many people rely on the media for two main things: to have an understanding of what is happening in the world and for entertainment.  Some sources argue that the media has an overall negative impact on the youth, while others argue that since it is a form of freedom of speech, it is acceptable.  The argument that will be addressed is the ways in which the media affects young people in relation to gang violence.  An example of how the media has a negative impact on the youth is the video game called "Call of Juarez: The Cartel". In this violent video game, citizens have become concerned that the game glamorizes brutality and will influence young people who are already gravitating toward a life filled with crime (Jazeera).  Gang violence appears in not just video games but movies as well.  The portrayal of gangs in the media is said to brainwash children into believing that gang life is a good thing rather than facing the true reality of it.  On the other hand, some believe that the media should be able to expose the youth to gang violence due to the right of freedom of speech written in the First Amendment. The issue is figuring out how to move forward with this major problem.

     There is a major divide in this country about how to move forward with this problem of gangs and social media, and it all comes down to two factions.  On the one hand are the people that believe that the speech of these gangs is so awful, hateful, and violent, that it has crossed over into the area of inciting violence.  Some go so far as to fear that if gang violence is shown at all, even in what the author or creator believes is a negative light, it should be banned because some people might get the wrong idea.  This second, more extreme view is held by many politicians and law enforcement officials in the city of Ciudad de Juarez, who fear that a game featuring a police crackdown on the violent gang-related crime of the city may influence nearby gangs to come into the city and to increase their anti-police violence. (AlJazeeraEnglish).  Most do believe though that gangs should have the right to at the very least use social media and retain their freedom of speech, sometimes even to the detriment of the gangs themselves.  Law enforcement uses the blatantly violent posts about drug deals and hits to incriminate and arrest large numbers of gang members like it as well.  One well-documented case led to the arrest of almost fifty gang members on charges of conspiracy and murder.  Key evidence used by the police to determine probable cause included Facebook posts (Secret). Also on the mass media side of the debate are the attempts by many lawmakers including Hillary Clinton who feel that certain video games, movies, and music are too hateful or violent for the public to be allowed to have access to them.  A few years ago, California attempted to pass bans on some such video games stopped at the Supreme Court due to both First Amendment rules and statistics that showed no difference in the effect of E-rated games like Sonic when compared to more violent ones on a child’s mind (Downes).

     The second area of contention, also around free speech, focuses on the right of gangs to assemble in public spaces.  This argument, which really reached a peak around ten years ago, still goes on, and what was written back then is still viable today.  Many believe that it is necessary to reduce the ability of gangs to assemble.  This way it will be more difficult for them to recruit and carry large-scale actions like major drug trafficking or turf wars.  They feel that it is okay to reduce the freedoms to assemble as long as it helps to protect their neighborhood from the violent gangs that live there.  On the other side of the fight are First Amendment activists who believe that the act of just being in the same place should not be a crime (Mauro). The result of the case that Mauro was covering was in favor of the defendant and against the law, which was struck down.  The interesting part of the case is that the law was only struck down based on vagueness, leaving much open debate over the legality of such laws.  This is due to the narrowness with which a Court’s actions are interpreted when they result in such a decision.  Due to this, we will be focusing on the first conflict.

     After talking it over amongst our group, we came to a collective conclusion.  While we strongly disagree with the types of messages that gangs put out, and we dislike some of the ways that mass media talks about gangs, there is still a First Amendment for a reason and we should use it to our advantage instead of curtailing it.

     Since gangs often use social media sites to get their views out to a large group of people in order to recruit more members, we thought it would be fitting to utilize a social media site in order to get our point across to the youths of America. As a group we decided that an effective way to convey our message about anti-gang affiliation would be to make a short video and post it up on YouTube for the general public to view. We are going to use a dark and serious tone to grab the attention of the audience. In order to ensure the targeted audience will not lose their attention, the video will be between one and two minutes with short, mildly graphic clips and/or photos from other people of dead bodies and in jails. Scattered throughout the video will be several truthful facts about the dangers and consequences of being in gangs, along with facts and information about gangs in general. We agreed to take a more serious approach to this project rather than a care-free and witty skit because it is a pressing matter and if we (the makers of the film) do not take it seriously, there is a possible chance that the audience will not either. Our goal of this video is not necessarily to scare people away from gangs, but rather to educate them about what gangs are actually like as opposed to how the media conveys them. 

    The impact of releasing this video could only help kids see how gangs and violence bring them closer to either life behind bars or in the ground.  When children are young, they are very impressionable, especially at the ages of twelve to seventeen. I think at this stage they are looking for acceptance and friendship, so they need to know where they can find that. Examples of places these things can be found are in clubs, by performing community service, or even campaigning for class council. They need to know that no part is too small to play and that they are making a difference in the end.

     The message that we want to convey is a strong announcement to the youth of America. The media is easily accessible to a majority of people, including kids and teens. From Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, it is hard to ignore commercials and movies that glorify gangs and violence. A few movies that praise gangs are Gangster Squad, The Gangs of New York, and American Gangster. We believe that we can use the social media to send a message to the youth saying that gangs are a very serious issue, and they have many repercussions.

     Social media uses movies to glorify gangs so we are going to be using software that makes and edits videos called iMovie. In NCLC 101, we learned how to use iMovie for a digital story. Chloe’ Weaver and Aaron Gushin know how to use iMovie so they will likely be making and editing the video, while the other group members will contribute their ideas and evidence. We all decided as a group that it would take too long for us to make the video the way we wanted to if we were in the video.  Instead of being in the video, we will use very explicit  but truthful pictures and facts about how being in a gang can change your life for the worse. The video will keep the audience's attention and show that being in a gang is not a choice in life one should make.

     When it comes to this video, there are many ways that there could be negative impacts, one being that there is no impact at all. If this video is not distributed out where a lot of people can see it then it will not get a chance to benefit the youth.  However, there are also many ways to correct this problem so that many people can have access to the video. One solution would be to place the video on an organization’s website, like the violence prevention coalition, that is against teen gangs and violence. Another way to get people to view this video is to go on a popular YouTube user's channel and add the video in the video response portion.  This will help people view this video because it will be in a place where they would be more likely to view it and help get the video on the popular page of YouTube.

     We will be discussing to what extent the media affect the decisions of youths in accordance to gangs and other related affiliations. There are two groups in this country that have very different views on how the media affect these kids. Some believe that gangs are downright intolerable and therefore the United States need to have stricter law enforcement against them, while others take into account the First Amendment Right of Free Speech and Assembly. The latter group therefore believes that while these gangs act as a threat to the public, they are still protected by the Constitution to meet and express their views. As a group, we have come to a consensus that we believe the media portrays gangs in a bad light. We disagree with the messages gangs enforce, but they still have a right to exist and we should use those rights to our advantage. In order to get our message out to the public, we have decided to make a short video clip portraying the dangers of gangs in an attempt to educate the minds of the youths of America. This video will hopefully turn them away from joining gangs as a way to escape the hardships they are facing.  






This will provide a place for you to begin collaboratively writing the introduction to your annotated bibliography, which proposes and discusses the merits of a media intervention in relation to the body of work you have identified.




By Friday, February 8th, the five articles and links should be posted.

By Saturday morning, everyone should post their top five articles.

By Saturday evening, Aaron should finalize the top five articles.

By Sunday, everyone should choose which of the top five they are going to do.

By Tuesday night have 2 links on the opposing side which is the freedom of speech; 1st Amendent

By Wednesday, everyone should have both of their annotated bibliography pieces posted on here and in a word document.


Small groups will communicate its results via an annotated bibliography and prospectus published on a shared wiki. - 2/14

Small groups will create a presentation on the significance of their selected topic in a democratic society. - 2/18

Informed by the research and presentation, each individual group member will write an advocacy letter to his/her federal state legislator. - 2/18

Each individual group member will attend a STAR/CLUB workshop to demonstate digital literacy. - 2/25

The group will use an information communication technology platform of their choice to produce a media intervention about the issue. - 2/27




Links and Citations

Aaron Gushin

a. Found this by just googling 'gangs and the media' This article and accompanying TV piece from ABC takes an interesting look at how gangs have begun using social media as a new recruiting tool to expand their base and as a way to basically advertise their activities. http://abcnews.go.com/US/chicagos-gang-violence-fueled-social-media/story?id=17464743

b. Found following peer-reviewed study from the University of Montreal, Quebec on how people view the media's effect upon the popular perception of gangs and organized crime http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/pubs/ccaps-spcca/pdf/media-eng.pdf , as does this one, http://www.hawaii.edu/hivandaids/Representing_Gangs_in_The_News__Media_Constructions_of_Criminal_Gangs.pdf 

c. Was unable to find an original link, so I decided to redo this part of the assignment.  It was incredibly difficult to find some blog that wasn't affiliated as a major article piece, but this is what I found, its basically about how some gangs use social media too much and get busted http://www.tucsoncriminallawblog.com/blog/2011/10/criminal-gangs-increasingly-using-social-media-and-cops-following-close-behind.html 

d. Here is a message from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, it may be 20 years old, but the thoughts put forth here are certainly the same ones put forth by many other active advocacy groups who decry the popularization of violence and gangs in the media of tv, music, and video games http://old.usccb.org/sdwp/national/criminal/ccv94.shtml 

g. This is an Al Jazeera coverage of the two sides in the argument over the publication of a new video game dealing directly with organized drug cartels in Mexico and the Southwestern US https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wei87C5PWhk 



a. This article seemed relevant because usually the media portrays groups of guys in a gang attacking women and this article goes into detail on that and proves it. http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/20/understanding-the-psychology-of-gang-rape/?ref=gangs

b. I found this article on the library pro quest research area. I searched Gangs and the Media. This source contains evidence of a study done in Hawaii and seems very credible.  http://search.proquest.com.mutex.gmu.edu/pqrl/docview/231941313/13C10B1640B36B9AEDF/4?accountid=14541

c. I google searched Portrayal of Gangs in the Media and this blog came up.  http://davohynds.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/life-in-da-‘hood-media-portrayal-of-gangs-and%C2%A0cops/

d. This is a really great website about the mass media portrayal of gangs. I found it on google and it seems like a trustworthy site. It isn't very detailed but gives a summary of out topic so it is a good one to read to get a little background information. http://people.missouristate.edu/MichaelCarlie/what_i_learned_about/gangs/whyform/mass_media_portrayals.htm

e. I searched NYT and this article came up. It proves that social media is a way that gangs are connecting with each other. This article tells about two gangs who used Facebook to taunt each other and compete.  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/nyregion/brooklyn-gangs-boasted-of-murders-on-facebook-police-say.html?ref=gangs



Melissa White

a. This article was found on Google and discusses the idea that gangs use social media sites to make threats or insult other people. http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2013/01/23/u-m-researchers-say-gangs-occupy-2-spaces-the-streets-and-the-internet/ 

b. This is the scholarly article that I pulled from the popular news article I used in part a, which is posted on the Science Direct database. It goes more in depth about the topic that has already been briefly discussed (gangs using social media sites). http://www.sciencedirect.com.mutex.gmu.edu/science/article/pii/S0747563212003779

c. This article in this blog that I found via Google sheds discusses the portrayal of gangs (and cops) in the media and how the media only displays them in negative ways. The author then discusses the way the media glorifies gang victims. http://davohynds.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/life-in-da-%E2%80%98hood-media-portrayal-of-gangs-and%C2%A0cops/

d. This website is about gang violence and crime prevention in general, but it has some good information. http://www.mrsc.org/subjects/pubsafe/le/le-juvenile.aspx#data

i. To find the audio podcast, I went on iTunes and just typed in "Gangs" in the iTunes store. After doing this, I scrolled down to the podcast episodes and played the one called "Gangs" on the Inside the FBI podcast. It talks about how gangs are portrayed in the media and how children think gangs are cool because of it, so they join them. There is a lot more interesting information in this about four minute podcast. (It's free.)



     A. http://techland.time.com/2011/11/10/fourth-blogger-reportedly-killed-by-los-zetas-mexican-drug-cartel/ This article talks about the Los Zetas Mexican Drug Cartel killing someone because they blogged about them over the internet.

     B. http://www.stlamerican.com/news/local_news/article_8479f4f2-65da-11e2-8aa8-0019bb2963f4.html This article explains how Desmond U. Patton feels about how gangs talk bad about each other over the internet and using the scholarly article called Computers in Human Behavior.

     C.  http://www.dfinews.com/article/don%E2%80%99t-fool-yourself-gangs-blog-and-tweet-we-do Is a personal blog about how Andy Spruill feels about how the internet plays a huge role in gang violence. 

     D. http://new.vpcgla.org/ This website talks about ways on how to prevent violence.

     F. http://abcnews.go.com/US/chicagos-gang-violence-fueled-social-media/story?id=17464743  or http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/02/nypd-to-use-social-media-double-size-gang-unit_n_1931873.html The first one talks about how Chicago's gang violence is fueled by the social media and the second one is about how the nypd is doubling the size of the gang unit because of the social media. 



Catherine Campbell

     A.  Article from printed, reputable, and mainstream daily news publications: Gangs using social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, etc.) to boast about their “legacies” and attempt to recruit new members; http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/bronx/throw_book_at_em_Abz6zWHnabayHUgHYQtQ1I

     B.  Article from peer-reviewed scholarly journals: Kecia Driver Thompson talks about the African American urban life in response to the HBO series “The Wire” which covers the the gang life of Felicia Pearson; http://mutex.gmu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=84617598&site=ehost-live

     C.  Posts from personal blogs: Adiel Radioo talks about his experience living in a crime driven part in South Africa;http://adielraidoo.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/its-a-gangsters-paradise/

     D.  Websites from concerned advocacy groups: Gang prevention article; http://www.ojjdp.gov/programs/antigang/

     H.  Scheduled presentations, talks, round tables, or other in-personal media events: Patrick Regan interview on BBC about gang culture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYUSu0abCZs


Annotated Bibliography



Secret, Mosi. "Facebook Friends Boasted of Gang War, Police Say." The New  York Times [New York City] 12 Sept. 2012: n. pag. Print.




            The article I chose, “Facebook Friends Boasted of Gang War, Police Say,” came from the New York Times newspaper. The New York Times is a reputable news source in the United States. The main problem addressed in the source is that two opposing gangs have been using the social media site, Facebook, to taunt one another, brag about murders, and post pictures. The two gangs involved were called Rockstarz and Very Crispy Gangsters. Brooklyn District Attorney, Charles Hynes and the city’s police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, told the New York Times that between the gangs, 49 members are being charged with murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy. The evidence was on various gang members’ Facebook inboxes with messages and photographs. While it isn't clear how the evidence was found exactly, I would assume that since Facebook is a public site, the conflict was reported by a third party or the police found it. That is the main limitation of the article; it does not clearly state how the evidence was found.

            My group has been researching the topic of mass media’s portrayal of gangs and how they are many times glorified. We also have been researching how gangs use social media sites. This article was perfect because it was a great example of how two gangs used Facebook, a hugely popular social media site, to compete and hurt one another. The source could have given more detail and background information about how social media is used with gangs today, but they didn’t.

            The article assumes that the readers should know basic facts about Facebook and how it is a popular social media site used by many. The author also assumes the readers know how violent gangs can be, especially in a huge city like New York. These things are assumed by the readers, so aren’t written out. The article also doesn't detail the photographs or comments posted. It vaguely mentions, "boasting about murders" and "taunting." Mosi Secret wrote this New York Time’s article, and there may be a slight bias since the newspaper is based out of New York and the events took place in Brooklyn (Secret).



Perrone, Paul A., and Meda Chesney-Lind. "Representations of Gangs and

Delinquency: Wild in the Street?" Social Justice 24.4 (1997): 96-116. Print.




            “Representation of Gangs and Delinquency: Wild in the Street?” is an article from a peer-reviewed scholarly journal. This article states, “national media coverage of crime has increased dramatically in recent years.” In particular, youth crimes associated with gangs is a major component of the media’s focus. Later it expresses the problem which is that media often exaggerates serious events and twists the event to make it seem more interesting. Researchers compiled a list of articles with the subject words, “gangs” and “juvenile delinquency.” The list of gang related articles was equal to the list of juvenile delinquency related articles. Since youth gang is often associated with juvenile delinquency, this made sense and some compiled articles were duplicates. “Yet the reverse condition was entirely absent. This makes sense if one accepts that gang issues are indeed a subset of juvenile delinquency issues, but it is curious that the total number of gang articles would have surpassed those on juvenile delinquency had the latter list been altered to exclude gang articles.”

            This study seems fairly accurate since they provide a study they did and the evidence found, but I think there are limitations to just searching articles with key words. Another limitation is that the study was only done in Hawaii, not throughout the United States. While it may not be the best study, this journal goes along with our group’s topic of gang violence and how media portrays it (Perrone)

            The journal is very detailed so the reader doesn’t have to assume much. The study, which took place in Hawaii, was written by the Chief of Research and Statistics for the Hawaii State Department of the Attorney General, Paul Perrone. He is very qualified to work on this subject. Meda, Chesney, the second author, is a professor in Hawaii and has worked for the Western Society of Criminology. Overall, both authors are reliable. The journal doesn't seem to have biases. It is a very straightforward study.



Aaron Gushin


Effron, Lauren. “Chicago’s Gang Violence Fueled Through Social Media”ABC News. 19 Oct. 2012. Web. 9 Feb. 2013

This web article and accompanying video provide an insight into the ways in which gangs use social media to further their goals.  They describe how the gangs use many social media sites as a way to both get messages to gang members and as recruitment tools by putting out entertaining media that will, the gangs hope, influence more people to join them.  Their information is largely gathered from 2 main sources, police and Chicago crime prevention units as well as the gangs themselves.  Both of these accounts though, have an incentive to overestimate the actual power that gangs have through the media.  It definitely relies on rhetorical methods as it does not use a lot of raw data, but instead relies upon ‘common’ sense in the social constructivist idea and takes largely first-hand accounts, as well as recent deaths of young men with some name recognition for a more emotional pull.  A major limitation of the source is the near-complete lack of statistics, which hurts the usefulness of an article that is supposed to focus on gangs using the media.

The source takes for granted both that the police, who are given more money the worse crime gets, and criminals, who are more successful and popular within criminal circles the more popular they are, talk about how this problem is on the rise.  Both groups looked at by ABC have an incentive to overestimate the actual scope of the problem.  ABC News is no more or less critical than the average Big Four news sources, and about as neutral and mainstream as you can get.  There really isn’t much bias from the media source itself, except for the undue influence that outside sources have upon their conclusions due to both interested sources, despite largely being at odds, have an interest in overestimating the scope and power of gangs.


AlJazeerahEnglish. “Video Games Glorify Mexican Cartel Violence”. Youtube. 24 March 2011. Web. 9 Feb. 2013

This is a clip from the Arab news company Al Jazeerah, from their English-language World News section.   They officially posted it on their own channel, leading me to believe that whatever edits were made to the original story were small if any, especially as the original story was already a group of precut photos, clips, and interviews.   The main problem addressed is the creation of violent video games that some feel glamorizes, and therefore incites more, gang violence.  It takes its evidence from local politicians and anti-violence groups who dislike the game because it glorifies violence and perpetuates a bad image of a city.  These people believe that if people didn’t see the city as a very violent one, then the violence in the city would not increase as much.  The politicians seem to feel that showing violence of a city is like advertising to the criminal element.  On the other side of the debate they include someone who makes a television show about video games.  He lives in the city represented in the game and says that the fictional violence in the video game pales in comparison to the real violence in the actual city.  The methods seem to be sit down or at least semi-formal interviews with representatives of both points of view.  While the politicians use the idea of a logical argument, their actual argument is a much more theoretical and rhetorical one.  The video game person uses a much more logical argument saying that you cannot compare fictional violence and real violence, as they are two completely different things.  This source contributes to existing literature by giving us a single exact case in which gang violence of some of the most violent and well-armed gangs in the world are being portrayed in a less-than-serious light by entertainment producers.  At the same time though, it gives the watcher the option to take either side of the issue.

            One major thing that the news piece takes for granted is a uniform dislike of the game by law enforcement and politicians.  As, in the game, you play a cop out to stop the gangs, I find this fact a little hard to believe.  Al Jazeera’s credibility is, in my opinion, not much different from any other major news media group in the world. I feel that the source did a relatively good job of letting both sides have their say while at the same time giving preference to neither.


Downes, Larry. "Video Games Given Full First Amendment Protection."Cnet. 27 June 2011. Web. 14 Feb. 2013.


          This source is a web-based news article about a recent victory in the Supreme Court for free speech advocates in the area of violent video games, the playing of, that some people believe can lead to an increase in violence.  The article largely focuses on the issue from a digital content viewpoint, commenting on the extensiveness of the State of California's views.  California went so far as to say that all information is simply a commodity, and therefore the regulation of such a commodity would not be restricted by Free Speech protections.  I do not think it is too far to say that especially when a Supreme Court votes 7-2, a large majority of the country feels that the actions of California went too far.  The methods used to garner the information were largely it seemed taking widely available quotes from people close to the case and fitting them together to create one coherent article on the many different legal problems that the regulations had brought up.  A combination of emotional and logical appeals were made.  A major logical appeal was simply stating that correlation was not causation, and therefore there wasn't enough evidence to back what California saw as a necessary safe action.  An emotional/rhetorical appeal that relies upon people's looking back at the good old days included sections on the way that violence has never previously been considered obscene, at yet it was this specific clause that was being used by the California government.  I feel that this source contributes to our research by showing what I believe to be the majority opinion on free speech, which is that we have to protect even violent and hateful speech as long as it is not directly inciting people to violence, as a safeguard against encroachment on political or just simply unpopular speech.

     One thing that the source takes for granted is that people will agree with him, while this is a minor assumption, based on the fact that only 2 of the justices disagreed with the majority opinion, there are people out there that feel that there is just simply too much risk involved with allowing people to play these games as, while it has not been shown that people who play video games are more likely to be violent, they have shown that people who are more violent have often played video games.  They are also younger and therefore more likely to play video games, and I feel that spending some more time talking about some of the fears that those who support this type of legislation have would have been productive.  Larry Downes wrote prolifically in the digital sector for a number of years in internet magazines and has written a number of books on the subject.  He definitely seems to have a pro-business angle with views towards expanding the sector and creating more wealth within this area of the economy.  This could easily lead to at the very least some measure of bias on the issue, although I do believe that he has sided with much of, although certainly not all of America.


Mauro, Tony. "First Amendment Freedoms, Anti-Gang Efforts to Face Off Before High Court." Freedom Forum. 19 Dec 1998. Web. 12 Feb 2013.


     This source is a web blog article written during the Chicago trial over the legality of having anti-gang laws in terms of the First Amendment provision of the Freedom of Assembly.  The main question addressed is the idea that many Chicagoans felt that the law has been in place as a way to destroy freedoms, having been used at the time to arrest over 45,000 people.  Many felt that this was an overreach and so took a case all the way to the Supreme Court in an attempt to get the law struck down.  Spoiler Alert: While the article was written during the trial, the law was indeed defeated, but only in the most narrow sense. Some of the evidence obtained include the arguments made by both sides on the issue, in the forms of quotes from two chosen respective legal briefs.  Those who favor security do so out of the opinion that the gangs are so prevalent and widespread that they have no other way of managing them than by basically limiting the freedom of all to get to the few bad apples.  They feel that the situation is so bad that it warrants such an approach.  This source contributes to what we already have as it is a small look at a specific example that happened before, and how, due to the vagueness of the final decision, the fight is still going on today between those who believe more in security and safety and those who believe more in civil liberties and personal freedoms.  The obvious major limitation of the source is when it was written, although I still feel that many of the arguments have not changed on either side of the debate.

     The author does not seem to be making any assumptions or conclusions about any of the comments made by either side, and seems to be giving reasonable space to both arguments.  He is certainly downplaying the powerful racial aspect of the debate.  In the late 90's and early 00's the Midwest, which is where most of these laws were being passed, was going through a very serious time of racial tension, including major race riots in Cincinnati that I remember.  While the Freedom Forum is certainly a biased website, Mauro himself was only a partial contributor whose main job was covering the Supreme Court for USA Today at the time, a relatively mainstream news source, his work seems to be based entirely on what other people say, and this frequent use of quotes lends more credibility to his paper.  Mauro certainly is looking at the story through a left-right paradigm in which the Supreme Court has, in his view, recently 'gone Conservative' and he is wondering what this will mean for civil and personal liberties. 



Melissa White


Halpern, Mollie. "Gangs." Inside the FBI. 28 Feb. 2011. iTunes. 12 Feb. 2013.


            In a podcast episode called "Gangs" on the Inside the FBI podcast on iTunes, FBI agent Michael Stansbury discusses gang violence, the FBI's plans to stop gang violence, why this is important, and how communities can put an end to this. The podcast episode is created by a woman named Mollie Halpern although Michael Stansbury informs the listeners about the topic. The podcast episode uses specific statistics to provide evidence. It is very persuasive because it discusses the danger in relation to the listener and attempts to persuade the listener to help put an end to gang violence. The limitations are that there really is not too much evidence provided in this podcast episode and that the only information provided is by one source, which is the FBI. This contributes to the other sources my group has found by providing information from a professional organization. The largest emphasis in this podcast episode is definitely the danger of gangs.

            Assumptions made by this podcast episode are what a gang is, what its members do besides drug trafficking, and what the FBI does. The source does not mention basic details about gangs, which are important in understanding the true danger behind them. Michael Stansbury is a credible source because he has been investigating gangs and crimes for over twelve years for the FBI. The filter of this source is that only the FBI is giving information. No other sources are mentioned. 


Timmons, Heather. "Why Do Groups of Men Attack Lone Women?" Editorial. The New York Times 20 Dec. 2012: n. pag. 20 Dec. 2012. Web. 12 Feb. 2013.


            "Why Do Groups of Men Attack Lone Women?" is a news article from The New York Times that is set up in interview format. In this article, India Ink interviews a psychologist named David Lisak who is an expert on violent crimes such as murder and rape. David Lisak logically argues that gang-rape is the result of feelings of anger, hatred, and a hunger for power. Lisak has worked on hundreds of criminal causes and has taught courses about material that includes gang-rape, so many years of studying has provided him with the evidence he needs. The biggest limitation to this interview is that at the bottom of the page, it says, "This interview has been lightly condensed and edited." This may mean that readers are not getting all of the information Lisak has provided, which means that important aspects of the topic may be left out. In relation to the other articles my group has found, this interview provides more information on the personality traits of gang members, which will be extremely helpful in understand why gangs act the way they do.

            The only assumption Lisak really makes is that all of the readers understand the feud between Nazi Germany and Jewish people. Though Lisak is goes into great detail, some of his answers have been either edited or left out altogether. The interviewee is a credible source because he has been teaching this subject for twenty-two years and has worked on many criminal cases. There do not seem to be any apparent biases because the interviewer is asking very straightforward fact-based questions. However, considering he has a good amount of experience in this area, he is looking at this idea through a lens that is based on his experiences.


Chloe' Weaver

Dobnik, Verena and Don Babwin. "NYPD To Double Size of Gang Unit Over Social Media Violence." The Huffington Post., 02 Oct. 2012. Web. 12 Feb. 2013.



     "NYPD To Double Size of Gang Unit Over Social Media Violence."is an article from a web-only magazine called The Huffington Post. The main problem addressed in this article is that gangs are using the social media to brag about their killings, recruiting new members, talk bad about other gangs, and etc. To fix this problem the NYPD is doubling the size of the department's gang unit to 300 investigators.  Out of those three hundred investigators some of them will befriend some of the gang members on the social media to get inside information on what they do. Some limitations that the source has to be aware of  what they say and how they say it or they will be charged with entrapment or unauthorized surveillance. The evidence that the source used are the exact words of the Gang Bureau of the Brooklyn district attorney's office, what the gangs said on facebook, and the words of the executive director of the New York Liberties Union. This source contributes to the group because we're talking about how the social media plays a role on gangs.

     This source really does not assume anything because the author gets all his information from the NYPD officers. I feel as if the author de-emphasized the law suit that the officers could get if they got their information wrong. The authors state what could happen to the officers but it seemed as if the author was just saying sarcastically as if that would not happen to the police department. They also are credible because they have written many articles and they are published at bigstory.ap.org. which holds articles that are very important.


Davo. "Life in da 'hood: Media Portrayal of Gangs and Cops" davohynds.wordpress.com 19 Oct. 2010. Web. 12 Feb. 2013

     "Life in da 'hood: Media Portrayal od Gangs and Cops" was an opinionated blog posting about how the media represents and portrays cops and gangs. The writer didn't use any sources or quotes but rather discussed what they thought about the topic. The writer used colorful language to get their ideas across. Davo attempted to look at all sides of portrayal and did say that not all media shows gangs in a negative light. I thought that the writer didn't have a direction and was rather rambling on about how there are bad cops and gangs that do good for their community but are seen as bad people to everyone else. Movies like Crash and Training Day were examples used to show different ways cops and gangs were shown but they won't have any relevance to those who haven't seen the movies.

     I felt as if the writer assumed that everyone reading the article would have seen the two movies listed above, which won't be the case all of the time. The biggest weakness in the article is that there is no evidence, or quotes from a respected source to back up anything they wrote. The lack of evidence decreases the credibility of this article dramatically. There is also a clear bias in the writer who seems to believe that the media is out to portray everyone in a negative light, and they never show both sides to the story.



“Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative.” Office of Juvenile Justice and Dilenquency Prevention, n.d. http://www.ojjdp.gov/programs/antigang/.

     The main arguments of the article is to raise awareness to the fact that gangs are still a major problem in the United States. Thanks to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, interventions are being held to the different factors that lead to juvenile delinquency and gang activity. The point of this article is to encourage readers that to partake in the prevention methods that are being put into place in order to stop and/or prevent children from engaging in gang activity. Topics such as crime rates, prevention methods, and anti-gang programs were discussed within the article. The article is about how the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is taking extra care in informing the United States population that gang activity is still an ongoing crime in America and should not be taken lightly. 

     This article is a useful source because it provides links and hyperlinks to other articles that share similar information. This source is different from the other sources in the annotated bibliography because it talks about prevention strategies, while other articles talk about how gangs are perceived in the media. It is similar to the other sources in the sense that the prevention strategies mentioned are working to make gang affiliation less appealing to youths between the ages of 12 and 15 years old. The information provided within the article is reliable because it is from a government source and the article provides data and other sources for support. This source does not seem biased or objective because there was very little room for opinion in the article; it was mainly information and facts. The goal of the source is to spread awareness of the ongoing gang problems and provide assurance that measures are being taken in order to educate communities, youths, and others about the consequences of joining a gang. This article helps shape the argument that the media portrays gang affiliation as an appealing commitment for youths. Much like the effects of smoking ads, youths know very well that joining a gang is wrong and potentially dangerous, but they join anyway in an attempt to fit in and seem cool.


Regan, Patrick. "Patrick Regan's BBC Interview on Gang Culture." Youtube. . BBC News, England. 29 Oct 2012. Web. 13 Feb 2013. http://youtu.be/sYUSu0abCZs.

     The main arguments Patrick Regan makes in the interview are that punishment is not enough to stop kids from joining gangs. There should also be an intervention component as well to educate kids and youths about the dangers and problems gangs run into. Living in an are of poverty, addiction, higher unemployment, and anger makes choosing the "good and right decision" harder to figure out. The point of the interview is to express how the current government's strategy for preventing gangs is short term. The more enforcement is made against gangs, the more kids are going to want to join in order to challenge the authority. The topics were prevention, causes of joining, and possible targeted age were all discussed. Prevention techniques include having strong enforcement, but also an intervention component can be beneficial to let youths know they have someone to talk to. Kids often join gangs because they made other poor life choices prior to joining. The popular age kids start joining gangs is 11-years-old and younger because they are less likely to be stopped and searched by the police.

     This is a reliable source because Patrick Regan (the interviewee) is the founder and CEO of "The eXceL Project" which is a charity that helps out youths in the United Kingdom, especially those who are affected by gangs. It was a useful source because it took a different perspective on gangs because it was based in the United Kingdom as opposed to the United States. This interview will allow our group to compare the basic perceptions of gangs in the United Kingdom with gangs here in the United States.




Free Speech and Gang Debate/Argument



1 Here is a great long-form blog post about the legal fight that is going on between the two groups http://law.jrank.org/pages/7069/Gangs-DO-ANTI-GANG-LAWS-VIOLATE-CONSTITUTION.html 



1) Here's an article that stresses the role of the First Amendment in anti-gang laws. http://www.freedomforum.org/templates/document.asp?documentID=4155

2) This article discusses the First Amendment in relation to video games. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-20074810-93/video-games-given-full-first-amendment-protection/


Chloe' Weaver

    http://www.aclu.org/search/gang?show_aff=1 This website has many judiciary oppositions of tying people with gang affiliation.



Top 5 Choices A-D





C-Melissa/Sarah (same article)





SARAH's top 5


a. aaron

b. melissa

c. sarah/melissa

d. catherine

and for the one extra...

a. melissa



A. Chloe Weaver

B. Catherine Campbell 

C. Aaron Gushin

D. Sarah Miller

and for the one extra:

A. Sarah Miller



A. Aaron

B. Sarah

D. Chloe'

A. Sarah



A. Aaron

B. Melissa 

C. Chloe

D. Catherine

A. Sarah


The articles chosen are as follows:





Extra: A-Sarah

I'll just do my own so A-Aaron-Aaron

                                B-Sarah- SARAH

                                C-Melissa/Sarah- Chloe'

                                D-Catherine - Catherine

                                A-Sarah - Melissa




The first name is whose article, the second one is who is doing it.  First come first serve, be finished my Wednesday

Individual Annotations


This will provide a place for you to do the individual collection and evaluation of sources that will ultimately be selected from for your group's annotated bibliography.


Melissa White


News Bias Activity

When I searched "gang" in the Google News section, a ton of articles came up with negative headlines. Of course, the negativity did not just stop with the headlines as the articles kept the negativity central to their stories. Because the majority of these articles are so negative, I detected a lot of Bad News Bias because it seems like the articles are emphasizing bad news to grab the attention of readers. An example is in this article:http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Killer-faces-15-years-in-Albany-gang-shooting-4243809.php Commercial Bias is also present as all of these articles are recent. The Status Quo Bias is also applicable to these articles because they all mention negativity surrounding gangs, which is how people have always seen gang activity. Some search terms for our subtopic I thought of are: Gangs in the Media, Gang Stereotypes, and Glamorizing Gangs. It seems like Washington Post controls a lot of the articles on Google News because not only does it control print, it controls TV and radio as well. 


Aaron Gushin


News Bias Activity

When I first searched gang, the main focus was on Latino gangs, largely based in California, this is probably largely due size of population giving these specific groups larger numbers of hits.  Interestingly, while I expected a list of bad news, I instead found some plainly informative articles, and others about gang leaders being caught, something that is a much more positive thing. 

I used "gang tv" as my search term, and found an article that included commercial bias and access bias, one story in particular mentioned an unknown shooter killing a non-gangmember who was walking out of school in a gang-heavy neighborhood.  This was certainly a case of commercial bias as the victim had performed at Obama's inauguration, giving the story a more national 'appeal' (hate to use that word), as opposed to being of local interest, Also, there was evidence of access bias in the article, as gangs were given as a reason purely based on police speculation with no accompanying proof.  http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/30/justice/illinois-teen-shot/index.html Time Warner, the parent company of CNN has a huge amount of power in the media, and are in fact second only behind Disney Corp in size.  They control web and tv distribution as well as news sources and entertainment to send over both.  They own Time, and distribute large numbers of magazines in print over a variety of topics as well.  The numbers of distribution and dollars are staggering to look at and imagine that all of this is being done by one single company. 



Chloe' Weaver

News Bias Activity

When I typed in the word "gang" a lot of articles came up and I felt as if most of the articles were aiming toward the Latino and Mexican gangs. I decided to explore my options with the exact names of gangs so I typed in "ms 13", "bloods" , and "crips". They all had very gruesome, but interesting articles about the violence that happens in the life of being  a gang member. I found an article under keywords, "blood and crip gang" being biased because the author kept assuming that the guy was hanging around gang members and assuming that the man, that the the author was talking about, caused the assault. If you want to read this article here is the link http://augustafreepress.com/2013/01/24/bloods-leader-gets-53-years-for-gang-related-crimes/ enjoy!


Sarah Miller

News Bias Activity:

I first just searched "gang" in news.google.com and a majority of the articles were negative so there was a lot of Bad News Biases. One article called "Man Accused in NJ Teen's Murder in Gang" is a good example of Bad News Bias because it is portraying gang's as murderers and terrible people. Another example of this is that a lot of hits came up with words like "Gang Rape Victim." Overall I saw negative things about gangs and a lot of accusations. I also located Visual Bias. A handful of videos and photos came up from places like CBS news. Some other search words I came up with for our subtopic include; Gang Signs, Stereotypes on Gangs, and Gang Portrayal. All of these searches came up with intriguing articles and helpful information I think I can use in the project. A lot of the articles and videos I found were owned by media sources like CBS, from videos and from their online site. Also, a lot of newspapers like NYT and the Washington Post published articles about gangs, probably because they came from big cities where gangs may be more predominant. 


Catherine Campbell

News Bias Activity: 

When I typed in "gangs" into google news, the headlines of the articles portray gangs as being tough, violent, and resilient towards other people (particularly authority figures). Another observation: these headlines give the notion that gang members are either armed, involved in drugs, or both. To get a specific list of articles, I decided to search "gangs in the media" and I found an article that highligts the way gangs use social networking in order to spread information about other gangs and also to glorify their reputation in order to get others to join. Here's the link: http://www.ns.umich.edu/new/releases/21111-internet-banging-gangs-use-social-media-to-trade-insults-threats

Happy reading!




The media plays a role on youth gangs


  1. 1.     Describing the issue Melissa
    1. a.     Do not taking a side
    2. b.     Use sources/findings
    3. c.      Keep it general
    4. d.     Say different ways
    5. e.     Say ways how the media portrays them
    6. 2.     Two different sides of debate Aaron
      1. a.     Freedom of speech
      2. b.     Damaging and violent speech
      3. 3.     Stance Aaron
        1. a.     We can’t stop the gangs from using social media, and we can’ stop the mas media from glorifying gangs
        2. b.     What we can do is use social media as an advantage to spread the word
          1.                                                i.     Sources
          2.                                               ii.     Why we take our stance
          3. 4.     Describe our intervention Cat
            1. a.     What are we going to do about?
              1.                                                i.     Video: serious/ informative
                1. 1.     Dark tone, dead people, jails, other peoples pic, scary/truthful facts
                2. 5.     Why we chose this certain intervention Sarah
                  1. a.     Video easily goes viral
                  2. 6.     Audience Sarah
                    1. a.     Youth
                    2. b.     Public libraries/ easily accessible
                    3. c.      Everybody knows how to use it
                    4. 7.     Discuss of the resources available to realize this intervention Chloe’
                      1. a.     Please answer cause we are confused???? TODD
                      2. 8.     Negative impacts Chloe’
                        1. a.     It may not reach that many people
                        2. b.     Will it catch on or not???
                        3. 9.     Conclusion Cat






Comments (1)

Richard Todd Stafford said

at 6:14 pm on Feb 7, 2013

Good start on your source here!

You don't have permission to comment on this page.