For most people the media is the primary source of their indirect crime knowledge, therefore it is incredibly important that it is reported accurately. However, due to many different factors crime is often misrepresented. Since the 1980’s media ownership around the world has become less and less diverse, with 11 of Australia’s 12 capital city newspapers owned between just the two companies. This allows the media to be very influential in the way society perceives things like crime. The purpose of this essay is to outline the methods the media uses to report on crimes, providing a perception that differs from that of the research.
As commercial entities the primary role of media organisations is to produce a profit, therefore they are inclined to report on criminal events that are classed as newsworthy. Society has a fascination with crime making most stories newsworthy to an extent. However, there are many factors that can increase its appeal, these are known as ‘news values’. These values look at the prominence of those involved, how recent the story is, the impact it will have on its audience, its proximity (both geographically and emotionally) to its audience, whether there is a novelty factor to the story, a conflict or a story that may be linked to another. By linking many stories together media organisations can produce anxiousness, or ‘moral panic’ amongst society, this can then be used to influence those such as policy makers to make changes.