Essay on Criminology

2306 Words Mar 9th, 2015 10 Pages
There have long been claims that the media, in one form or another, has had an overarching effect upon society, and especially so in regards to the portrayal of crime. Still, whilst this claim is not in dispute, what is of interest to us is not only the presentation of crime per se, but how and why it is created. Moreover, this approach will then enable us to consider the consequences such processes have on the public at large. To help us with this task we shall consider Stanley Cohen’s, Folk Devils & Moral Panics, (1980) and Stuart Hall et al, Policing the Crisis, (1978). What is more, we shall situate both studies within a theoretical framework of moral panics as proposed by Erich Goode and Nachman Ben-Yehuda (1994). The rationale behind …show more content…
For instance, both police, and the British Crime Survey (BCS) figures reveal that ‘Property crime accounts for the majority (78%) [of all] recorded crime.’ Furthermore, ‘Violent crime represented 23 per cent of all BCS crime and 19 per cent of police recorded crimes in 2003/04.’ Nevertheless, press coverage of the latter far exceeds that for the former. What is more, if we were to flick through the majority of broadsheet, tabloid, and local press then we find an over reporting of violent crime, and especially so in regards to homicide, and sexual offences, yet in reality these offences constitute less than 1% of the above figures for violent crime. (HO, 2004) What this illustrates then is not only is media coverage of particular crimes unbalanced and may lead to a “fear of crime”, but it is because the actual presentation of crime has to conform to formulas of newsworthiness. According to Chibnall (1977) ‘presentation’ and ‘selection’ are key processes in the formulation of newsworthiness: ‘selection – aspects of events to report, and which to omit; and presentation – choosing what sort of headline, language, imagery, photograph and typology to use.’ (Muncie, 1996:45)

The above serves to give us some idea of how the dynamics of media interpretation of crime works, and more significantly, how this may actually lead to misrepresentation. We shall now endeavour to add a little flesh to the bones of this statement and develop this theme further as we

Related Documents