Criminology - crime, deviance and the media

  • Created by: Shelly23
  • Created on: 10-01-17 10:31

Greer and Reiner, 2012

There is increasing consumptipm of media in a wide range of different ways - average 4.03 hours a day(BARB:Trends in Television Viewing 2010)

2002survey of people in London:

  • 80%reported their main source of information about plicing came from the media (four as many that cited 'direct experience'
  • 29% saw 'media fiction' as a crucial source (9%more that 'direct experience'

Research indicating th extent of crime covered by the media depends on the methodology, definition of crime, type of media, 'quality' or 'popularist'. Proportion had varied over time, increasingly in the last 50 years. 

Ericson et al (1987) - very broad- 45.3% in a quality newspaper to 71.5% on a quality radio station; 'quality' broadcasters had more on devience stories, explained by 'their particular emphasis on devience and control in public beauracracies'

Majority of research found the opposite, especially if certain news values apply

  • Whiite collar crime found more in 'quality' newspapers, restrictted to specialist financial sections or papers services to frae it off from being a 'real crime' (unless involves senstionalism or celebrities)
  • Crime involving violance are disproportionatly reported(for example murders or sex crimes) - motivation for the crime and victim also played a role
  • Victims and offenders are usually older and of higher status than those in the crimminal justice system. 
  • Contradictory evidence to suggest diproportionate focus on ethnic minorities - local media and 'reality' shows focus more on ethnic minorities  and lower status groups
  • One true reflection - majority of offendors are male
  • Increasing focus in the news of victims
  • Eggagerating risk to high-status while people, disproportionate reporting of women, children or older people as victimes

"The mass media provides citizens with a public awareness of crime...based upon an information rich and knowladge poor foundation" (Sherizen, 1978:204)

Repersentation VS Reality

Media repersentations of crime offer a selective version of the reality of crime. The aspects that are selected is determined by two key factors:

The restictions imposed by the new production process:

  • Limited time
  • Safety concerns
  • Production costs
  • What kind of crime stories does this result in? - preference for easily accessable information (police, courts) - focus on single crime stories rather than long term trends

Producers' assumptions about audience intrest:

  • Which kind of stories have public appeal or are in the public intrest?
  • These assumptions are underpinned by news values (first list of news values by Galtung and Ruge, 1965)

Increasing emphasis on celebrity culture:

  • famous victims or prepetrators add news value
  • Some crime victims (Madeline McCann for example) become 'celebrities'

News Values:

  • Threshold - does the story reach the required threshold of importance?-> local crime in local news, national in national news
  • Predictability - is it sufficently unpredictable?Predictability can sometimes be valuable too -> focus on unpredictable crimes or events that can predictability be associated with crime
  • Simplification - can it be explained in simple words? -> focus on simple crime stories vs broader/long term trends and explanations
  • Individualism - can the story be told through individual perspectives?-> telling the story through…


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