Media and Crime

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  • Created by: Minah
  • Created on: 15-06-14 15:54

1.      What is meant by the term ‘mass media’ and give examples

·         Refers to the means of communication that reach large numbers of people in a short time, such as television, newspapers, magazines and radio.


Media connected to Crime – Distorts Crime

2.      Summarise Ericson et. al’s evidence on the focus of crime in the media

·         As a percentage 41-75% of crime is covered by the media in Ericsons study of Tornoto.


3.      How is this supported by Williams and Dickinson

·         Williams and Dickson: British newspaper devote 30% of news space to crime.


4.      How do the media over-represent violent and sexual crime?

·         DITTON AND SUFFY found that 46% of media reports were about violent or sexual crimes, yet these only made up 3% of all crimes recorded by the police. MARSH’S study in USA found that violent crime was 36 times more likely to be reported than a property crime.


5.      What is the age fallacy?

·         The media portray criminals and victims as older and more middle class than those found in statistics. FELSON calls this age fallacy.


6.      How do the media exaggerate police success?

·         In clearing up cases. This is largely because the police are a major source of crime stories and want to present themselves in a good light. Also, there is an over representation of violent crimes which has a higher clear-up rate than property crime.


7.      How do the media exaggerate the risk of victimisation?

·         Especially to women, white people and higher status individuals.


8.      How do the media distort crime by representing it as a series of separate events

·         Without a structure and without examining underlying causes.


9.      How do the media overplay extraordinary crimes?

·         They also underplay ordinary crimes. FELSON calls this dramatic fallacy. Similarly, media images lead us to believe that to commit crime and to solve it one needs to be daring-ingenuity fallacy.


10.   How has media coverage of some crimes changed over time (Schlesinger and Tumber and Keith Soothill and Sylvia Walby)

·         SCHLESINGER AND TUMBER found in the 60s, focus was on murder and petty crime, but in the 90’s murder and petty crime were less interest to the media.

·         SOOTHILL AND WALBY found newspapers reporting **** cases increased from under ¼ of all cases in 1985. They also note coverage consistently focuses on identifying a sex fiend or beast by the use of labels.


11.   What is meant by the term ‘news is socially constructed’?

·         Is that news does not simply exists but there waiting to be gathered in and written up by the journalist. It is the outcome of a social process in which some stories are selected and some researched. COHEN AND YOUNG note news is not discovered but manufactured.



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