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The reporting trajectories of top homicide cases in the media:a case study of The Times.

Soothill, Keith and Peelo, Moira Teresa and Pearson, Jayn and Francis, Brian (2004) The reporting trajectories of top homicide cases in the media:a case study of The Times. The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 43 (1). pp. 1-14. ISSN 0265-5527

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Abstract

This study describes the reporting trajectories of the 13 cases that received the most coverage in a leading British newspaper, The Times, over a period of 23 years (1977 to 1999 inclusive). We have classified these as ‘mega-cases’. This approach moves beyond merely measuring the coverage of cases to charting how cases can escalate to become ‘moral panics’, move into a shared ‘general knowledge’ of killing or, in some cases, come to occupy iconic status. Some ‘mega’ cases fade from consciousness when viewed over a period of time. In ‘mega-cases’ there is an unexpected ‘primary incident’ that makes the case newsworthy in the first instance. Then the ‘formal process’ helps to manage a homicide within accepted and acceptable boundaries. In broad terms, the media trajectories of these ‘mega-cases’ following the ‘primary incident’ are predictable. However, further unexpected ‘incidents’ unrelated to ‘process’– suicides, attacks by other prisoners, escapes – challenge the predictability of these ‘mega-cases’. The trajectories of homicide cases that begin to link in with wider societal agendas are the most difficult to predict.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice
Additional Information: 40% contribution RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Social Work and Social Policy & Administration
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Applied Social Science
Faculty of Science and Technology > Mathematics and Statistics
ID Code: 3288
Deposited By: ep_importer
Deposited On: 25 Mar 2008 09:21
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2014 10:12
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/3288

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