Limits of the Data

We readily admit there are difficulties in relying on newspaper accounts of these events. However, the intent of this study is simply to look at what events are reported in the newspapers with the full understanding that many such events do not make the newspaper, and that the meaning of these reported events is the subject of some debate. Until more sophisticated reporting of these events is developed, these data provide at least one indicator of the extent of bias motivated incidents in Northwest Indiana.

Once again, we want to remind individuals using these data that incidents from the earlier years (1990 - 1996) in the database are drawn from two newspapers, from 1997 – 2000 they are drawn from three newspapers, and from 2000 on the incidents are drawn from 4 newspapers.

It needs also to be noted that there is evidence that recently The Times, according to persons on the staff, no longer has the resources available to cover and report on all events of this kind. For this reason, declines in the number of bias events reported in the paper may be affected more by the decline in resources than by the actual number of events. Similarly, since the Post’s takeover by the Chicago Tribune, it is clear that there has been much less emphasis on local news, which may also contribute to reporting fewer bias incidents than actually occur. This is important to keep in mind when looking at trends across time particularly as it applies to recent years.