News Media and Social Justice A presentation by Ryan Kolb
Introduction• News media has reshaped society’s collective perception and expectations of social justice, as well as altered the workings of our legal system itself.
Narrative Model in News Media• Media represents an individual crime in the form of a story, dubbed these current news practices as “infotainment”• “Public narratives about crime in the news media operate on a distinctly emotional level, weaving powerful messages about not only the nature and extent of crime, but also how audiences ought to feel about crime” (Kohm, 2009).• Beyond the “just the facts” approach into something much more sensational, but compelling.
News as Entertainment• “The criminal-justice system and, particularly, the police are becoming "mediatized"” (Doyle, 2006).• Crime shows take storylines from news, news media frames crimes after pop culture stories. – Damages, Murder One, Law & Order• Narrative model created common ground for fiction, non-fiction, made transaction between the two effortless.
True Crime as Pop Culture• News media part of our legal justice system.• "This whole case was driven by social media. We really tapped into peoples minds, and I think its a tool that should be used by defense and prosecution." ()• Defense changed strategy when public opinion became unfavorable of Casey on Facebook and twitter.
True Crime as Pop Culture Cont.• Nancy Grace’s coverage made Anthony a celebrity• Crusade for social justice, or one-sided feud?• “Her condemnation of the verdict brought almost 3 million viewers to HLN, the largest audience in the networks 29-year history” (Maerz 2011).• Grace reflecting the public opinion, or creating it?
Narrative Model and Expectations• Crime immediately is followed by expectation for punishment.• Social justice, or rather public punishment?: “…the ‘re-emotionalization’ of law has impacted the general public discourse surrounding crime and the sanctions employed in the criminal justice system” (Kohm, 2009 )• Shame is a punishment in itself, and one that is used regardless of the verdict in court. – To Catch a Predator, High-Profile cases
Dominant Ideology of News as Entertainment• “Much recent media research has been based upon a dominant ideology thesis…power of politically and economically dominant groups…defines the parameters of debate, largely determines the contours of the dominant ideology” (Schlesinger, 1991).• Infotainment a ideology based archetypes, narrative tropes of conventional storytelling and entertainment• “Not guilty” verdicts anti-climactic, and therefore unsatisfying.
Conclusion• Important to never forget the implications to mixing entertainment and true-life tragedy.• Common news reporting practices are “The exercise of power over the interpretation of reality” (Jansen 2011). It’s our responsibility to be constantly aware of the weight of that power.
Works Cited• Davey, Chris, and Karen Salaz. "Survey Looks at New Media and the Courts." Judicature 94.3 (2010): 137-8. Print.• Walter Pacheco. "HOW CASEY ANTHONY DEFENSE USED SOCIAL MEDIA, BLOGS." South Florida Sun - Sentinel: A.1. Print. 2011.• Doyle, Aaron. "How Not to Think about Crime in the Media." Canadian Journal of Criminology & Criminal Justice 48.6 (2006): 867-85. Print.• Kohm, Steven A. "Naming, Shaming and Criminal Justice: Mass-Mediated Humiliation as Entertainment and Punishment." Crime, Media, Culture 5.2 (2009): 188-205. Print.• Melissa Maerz. "Nancy Grace: Ranting for Ratings." Entertainment Weekly.1164 (2011): 1. Print.• Jansen, Sue Curry, Jefferson Pooley, and Lora Taub-Pervizpour. Media and Social Justice. 1st ed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Print.• Schlesinger, Philip, Howard Tumber, and Graham Murdock. "The Media Politics of Crime and Criminal Justice." British Journal of Sociology 42.3 (1991): 397-420. Print.• Grace, Nancy. "The Devil is Dancing Tonight." Commentary. 5 July. 2011. YouTube. 11 April 2012.