Criminal Justice student receives award for criminology thesis

By Jordan Gass-Pooré
University News Service
July 11, 2011

Texas State University-San Marcos doctoral student Jaclyn Schildkraut has received the Richard Block Award for Outstanding Thesis.

The annual award is given by the Homicide Research Working Group of the American Society of Criminology. Schildkraut will present the results of her Master’s thesis, Homicide in the Headlines: An Analysis of the Newspaper Reporting of Baltimore Homicides of 2010, in November at the American Society of Criminology’s annual conference in Washington D.C. The award includes a $500 prize plus travel expenses to-and-from the conference.

Mark Stafford, Department of Criminal Justice professor, said the American Society of Criminology is comprised of criminal justice and criminology teachers and researchers. He said this is the first time a Texas State student has received the Richard Block Award for Outstanding Thesis.

Schildkarut, a graduate of the University of Central Florida, said her thesis started as a term paper for a Master’s homicide class. She said she originally planned to research the New Orleans or Chicago homicide rate. She said she chose Baltimore because the city has a “phenomenal” homicide map that provided easily accessible data needed for her thesis.

Schildkarut said Baltimore has the third highest murder per capita rate in the nation.

“There were days in my study that six people died in one day, but only half of them would get reported on,” Schildkraut said.

Schildkraut said what separates her thesis from others is that she only looked at crime victim information, not the offenders.

Schildkraut used her media background to investigate the newsworthiness of Baltimore crimes. She said her research contradicted that of previous literature related to newsworthiness and homicide.