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The Media Politics of Crime and Criminal Justice

Philip Schlesinger, Howard Tumber and Graham Murdock
The British Journal of Sociology
Vol. 42, No. 3 (Sep., 1991), pp. 397-420
DOI: 10.2307/591187
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/591187
Page Count: 24
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The Media Politics of Crime and Criminal Justice
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Abstract

This paper is concerned with the treatment of crime and criminal justice in the British national news media. It begins by proposing a break with 'media-centric' approaches to the study of relations between news sources and the media which have tended to ignore the conflicts within and between social institutions. It moves on to illustrate the argument by examining the media strategies pursued by sources in the crime and criminal justice fields, drawing attention to the relevance for these activities of such factors as the relative institutionalization of social actors and their use of available resources. Recent developments in crime, legal affairs and home affairs reporting are the background to a discussion of the specialist organization of press journalism and television coverage. Some illustrative discussion of media content is presented that highlights pertinent differences within and between television broadcasting and the press. Brief observations are also made concerning the relations between patterns of media consumption and fear of crime in sections of the television audience. The paper concludes by arguing for more connections to be made between bodies of existing work in media sociology, political science and criminology.

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