Crime & Media Week 2.docx

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General Education Studies
Danielle Tyson

The Construction of Crime News Agenda setting. The way in which those who work within the media decide what is important enough to report. Audience. The assumed group at whom media texts are aimed. Binary oppositions. Notion that the media presents the world through polarised constructions of difference which are fixed and immutable e.g. man/woman. Citizen journalism. Form of demographic participation brought about by mass ownership of phones with cameras, image sharing sites and popularity of blogs. Ethnocentrism. When a country’s news organisations value their own notion over others. Framing. The shared cultural narratives and myths that a news story conveys via recourse to vital imagery, stereotyping and other journalistic shortcuts. Ideology. Refers to the ideas that circulate in society and how they represent/misrepresent the social world. Moral majority. Encapsulates the imagined community to which the popular press address themselves. Newsworthiness. Encapsulates the perceived public appeal/interest of any potential news story (determined by news values). News values (12). Professional, yet informal codes used in the selection, construction and presentation of news stories. Populism/populist punitiveness. Perception that the public demands more punitive justice and punishment strategies to deter would-be offenders from committing crime. Public appeal. Measured in sales figures and ratings. Public interest. Qualitative assessments of what public should/shouldn’t be made aware of. Social constructionism. Emphasises importance of social expectations in the analysis of taken- for-granted and apparently natural social processes. Avoids the conventional binary opposition of representation/reality by suggesting that there is no intrinsic meaning in things, but that meaning is conferred according to shared cultural references and experiences. Last week - There are different theoretical approaches to analyse the relationship between crime and the media. o Some are more cynical – effects theory of media influence, hegemonic understanding of the power of the media to define elite interests. o Some are more positive – pluralist idea of an open media marketplace, cultural criminologists’ notion of a postmodern ‘mediascape’. - Each employing different theoretical models to establish different viewpoints. Early crime - Treason, murder and witchcraft were the most popular storylines historically. - By late 1800s we see the emergence of the aggressive marketing of crime news to the public that we are familiar with today. o Crime-related street literature - sermons, speeches, etc for news of crime and justice. o Newspapers came to be produced by organisations with profits. o People either wanted to profit from crime or didn’t. - An examination of the process by which news is created is revealing for understanding the content of crime news. - Two models dominate explanations for the process of news creation: o Market model – objectively reporting news. o Manipulative model – distorting news issues to shape public opinion. - Organisational model – idea of rendering an objective, unbiased mirror image of reality is impossible. o Incorporates the other two. o What the public receive as news is capsulised, stylised and commodified info. Key themes in existing research on media organisations - Crime news is ‘manufactured’ along ideological lines: o Media focus on the most serious stories of crime. o Crimes that happen everyday are least likely to be included on the news. - The demands and constraints of news production intertwine with the perceived interests of the target audience to produce a set of organisational ‘news values’. o Highly selective and largely unrepresentative of the crimes that happen everyday. o Judgements journos make everyday when deciding what to include in the news. o Violence in the media is constructed as random, wanton and intentional act of evil others. o The victims in the papers are not the victims experiencing crime in the everyday. - There are 12 key news values that are prominent in the construction of crime news. - The construction or manufacture of crime news is significant because it can set the agenda for policy and public opinion. o Implication coming from previous. o Influences public opinion, shape who we think are most likely to be victim and criminal, shape our responses and what we should do about them. - New technologies are changing the ways in which news is produced and consumed. o Journos and academics are more likely to use media forums. o Offer opportunities for creative acts of journalism for those who aren’t journos. Why critically analysing media representations of crime is important - Has implications for representations of which crime victims can be ‘ideal’. o If victim is more/less than ideal , it’s more likely to be reported. - There exists a hierarchy of victimisation. o Not an equal playing field – children, elderly and women more likely to be reported than men. - Elderly women and young children more likely to be deemed ‘ideal victims’ than are young men, the homeless, and others existing on the margins of society. - Cases where a greater deviation from cultural norms is present increase newsworth
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