According to McGregor (1995) ‘Crime News is Prime News’. Critically discuss the manner in which crime is reported in New Zealand. What are the potential consequences of New Zealand based media representations of crime for your understanding of crime a “The police beat are all about people, what makes them tick, what makes them become heroes or homicidal maniacs. It has it all greed, sex, violence, comedy and tragedy” (Buchanan, E “A coaching method”).
This comment from former Miami Herald police reporter, Edna Buchanan further emphasises the theory that the mass media worldwide thrives on stories which sell; Sex, violence and tragedy sell. It is the stories relating to crime, which holds all of these attributes as well as the ones mentioned by Edna Buchanan.
So it is not surprising, that on a daily basis we are bombarded with crime stories. It is essential to have an understanding on the manner in which crime is reported in New Zealand, as many of us have an idealistic view on the media seeing it as an ‘education eye on the country’ which tells it like it is. Unfortunately this is not often the case. With every action, there are always consequences, large and small. The media and the way in which they report crime stories has many potential consequences, which affect New Zealander’s understanding of crime and criminality. Crime is represented in many ways from factual representations shown in the news and documentaries, to fictional in television dramas, films and novels.
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For the purpose of the essay topic I will concentrate on crime in a ‘factual sense’ within the New Zealand media. In 1998 ‘Manning’s ummarised our society as he sees it today in that “we live in a media sub-fused world. Media surrounds and saturates us” he goes on to say that the way in which the producers and editors within the media industry choose to report the news (or in some cases choose not to) shapes the ‘receiver’s’ (of the reports) perceptions on reality. When it comes to ‘crime’, the relationship between crime and media is a complex one. While on one hand the media works to help the police in-regards to solving crimes, they also have an obligation to themselves as a ‘company’ which must return a profit. In this day and age, sex drugs and violence sells.
IN the media industry stories are classed on a scale of their news ‘worthiness’. Stories that contain sex or violence or an unusual weird twist are stories worthy of coverage. Crime is a topic news worthy in itself, however the way in which the media chooses which stories to report on is done in a manner labelled “selection and filtering.” It is important to remember that the media constructs the news, they make judgments about what is and isn’t of interest, thus what is and is not published. The media is value-laden as opposed to value free. There are three major ways in which the media obtain crime stories. They make regular calls to the police, have personal contacts within the police force, and the most common and accessible if from the weekly conferences held by the police for the media.
Reporters are sent along to these conferences to hear a summary of criminal activity that has taken place in the past week. The media then choose out of the crime activities shared at these conferences and choose around five to eight stories which they feel are newsworthy. It is at this first point of contact with a source that we can see how this filtering process is activated. For example there are around two thousand crimes committed in Auckland each week, however only forty to fifty crimes deemed ‘appropriate’, are chosen by the police officer / s to supply to the media. The media in turn then choose only a handful from this downsized amount that they feel are news worthy. This is hardly an objective presentation of crime.
Current Media Story Ever since Russia had attacked Georgia on August 8, 2008, the overwhelming majority of American mainstream Medias had adopted a strongly ...
The media and the police hold a close relationship that is symbiotic. It is neutrally beneficial to each other. The media are able to obtain stories from a source that is cheap and accessible, while the police have access to an effective means of communicating to the public. Eg missing persons. The primary definers of the news starts with the police who present a sample of crimes committed. The media are then the secondary definers who condense the police’s selection.
This is an unrepresentative sample of crime in New Zealand. Judy Macgregor conducted a ” Content analysis’s tudy in 1993 and 1995 by examining the content in New Zealand’s top five major news papers. For one entire month she followed each of the five news papers on a day to day basis in order to find the extent in which crime news was selected over other news categories and to discover what type of crime stories were picked for publication. Judy found that crime news represented 16.
4% of all the hard news stories across all five papers. Of that 16. 4% there was little or no contextual discussion, and the story was not in context just a report of the event. IN finding out which sort of crime stories appeared more frequently, she compared the stories under the same categories used by the police. 45% of all stories were of violent offences, while property and white collar crimes had statistics of only 1.
7 and 6% respectively. Compare these results to the police statistics and you would see the opposite results. Therefore crime is not represented proportionally, at least in accordance with the police statistics (which hold their own issues as it is).
There are major discrepancies within the media and their approach to crime. They have an irresistible attraction to violent and sexual offences, as these make the best topics for news stories. Crime stories are shown as it is, and the underlying issues are ignored as there is no space to discuss them, the impact of this is that crime is presented in a way that strips it of it’s social political context.
The readers and viewers are not given a deeper understanding of these events and in turn cannot engage any meaningful debate about them. The media are private companies; commercial entities that run, as any other business- multi national company needs to make profit. Crime news is cheap to gather- courts are free and is cheaper than investigating issue yourself hence is easy to gather and requires minimal effort and time. — can draw more on competition btwn channels and publications. ) The media hold the idea of “the public needing to know what we want them to know”> The idea of “news worthiness is a tangible explanations as to why crime is represented the way is it. Violence, serious crimes, unusual, status and personal crimes (involving famous eg mark ells is partner who drunk drove and old ss actor speeding with daughter in car from Palmerston to Wellington speeding (Sunday star times).
... the woman police officer and we label her a dyke or lesbian. If the media throws these ... dedicated women whos only objective is to take crime of the street. The article that I chose ... the adjudication process, women who are judges and police officers still face the same type of discrimination. ... Women who are police officers have this additional element in their careers. ...
Consequences Acts changing eg home invasion- groups-juries influenced-moral panics eg dog panic and boy racers. In television news, there are four prominent issues, politics, health, Maori and crime. It was found that the total sample of crime stories equates to 225. 8% across these four issues. And overtime crime stories have increased significantly. From 1985 to 1994, crime stories on television one rose form 18% to 41% of all news stories reported.
On television three 1990-1994 rose 40% to 53%- A increase of over 10% in just four years. Atkinson has fund that crime news as a percentage of programme time has doubled in seven years from 10% to 27% on channel one news. The media define what is a political concern, of economic importance and social and cultural interest to the public. The public rely on the media to inform us of what we have little knowledge and experience on, they are our “information brokers” if you like.
We expect to be reliably and objectively informed Bibliography Buchanan, E (Quote) In ‘Writing and Reporting News’ Rich, C (2003).
Wadsworth Press. USA Cohen, S (1973) ‘Folk Devils and Moral Panics’, Paladin, London. In ‘Crime and Criminology an Introduction ‘ pp 8. Oxford University Press Australia. Haines, F & White, R.
(1996) ‘Crime and Criminology an Introduction ‘ pp 6-9. Oxford University Press Australia. Jackson, M. (1997-1998) ‘The Maori and the Criminal justice system: a new perspective. Wellington, Policy and research division, Department of Justice. McGregor, J.
... of Crime and Justice,’ in _Australian Social Attitudes,_ UNSW Press, Sydney. Surette, R. (1996). `News from Nowhere, Policy to Follow: Media and ... on Fear of Sexual Abuse. _Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention_. Retrieved from //pdfserve.informaworld.com.libraryproxy.griffith ...
‘Whats news: Reclaiming journalism in New Zealand’. pp 81-92. Palmerston North, Dunmore Press, 2002. In ‘Criminology 211 Course Reader’ pp.
175-180. Sure tte, R. (1992), ‘Media, Crime and Criminal Justice- Images and realities’. pp. 79 – 104 Pacific Grove CA, Brooks/Cole Publishing Company. In ‘Criminology 211 ‘ Introduction to Criminal thought’ Course Reader’ pp 150 -163..