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The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (6th edn)

Alison Liebling, Shadd Maruna, and Lesley McAra
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date: 30 November 2023

p. 26011. News power, crime and media justicelocked

p. 26011. News power, crime and media justicelocked

  • Chris Greer
  •  and Eugene McLaughlin


News corporations are reconstituting and dramatically extending their power to shape crime consciousness and influence criminal justice rhetoric and practice. At the same time, in depth crime news research has fallen off the criminological radar. In this chapter we argue that because criminologists have not kept pace with the transforming news environment, the relations between news power, crime, and criminal justice remain under-researched and under-conceptualized. We begin by revisiting two concepts that continue to dominate UK crime news research: news values and moral panic. Though these concepts are still important for understanding news power, crime, and criminal justice, there has been a qualitative shift in how increasingly adversarial corporations manufacture crime news in a 24/7 digital environment. We identify ‘trial by media’ and ‘scandal hunting’ as journalistic practices that news corporations are perfecting through the relentless exposure of institutional failure as the cause of a systemic crisis in public protection and criminal justice. It is in this intermediatized context that we situate the shift from criminal justice to media justice.

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