University of Hertfordshire

What makes a homicide newsworthy?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1212-1232
Number of pages21
JournalBritish Journal of Criminology
Volume52
Issue6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes

Abstract

Homicide is the most newsworthy of all crimes. Yet not all homicides are reported equally: some receive extensive coverage while others receive little or none. Qualitative questionnaires, completed by ten UK national tabloid journalists, explored the criteria that determine the newsworthiness of homicide. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis revealed that, with certain exceptions, homicides involving 'perfect' victims, statistically deviant features, killers on the run, sensational elements and/or serial killers will almost always be newsworthy, while those involving 'undeserving' victims in commonplace circumstances will almost always not. However, analysis further revealed that there will always be caveats to this, with some, normally under-reported, homicides gaining widespread coverage through unpredictable factors such as current societal issues or interest from a particular editor.

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