Murder in our Midst: Comparing Crime Coverage Ethics in an Age of Globalized News

Comparing Crime Coverage Ethics in an Age of Globalized News

Author : Romayne Smith Fullerton and Maggie Jones Patterson

Publisher Oxford University Press
Publication 2021
ISBN 9780190863531
eISBN 9780190863579
Language English


Crime stories attract audiences and social buzz, but they also serve as prisms for perceived threats. As immigration, technological change, and globalization reshape our world, anxiety spreads. Because journalism plays a role in how the public adjusts to moral and material upheaval, this unease raises the ethical stakes. Reporters can spread panic or encourage reconciliation by how they tell these stories. Murder in Our Midst uses crime coverage in select North American and Western European countries as a key to examine culturally constructed concepts like privacy, public, public right to know, and justice. Working from close readings of news coverage, codes of ethics and style guides, and personal interviews with almost 200 news professionals, this book offers fertile material for a provocative conversation. The findings divide the ten countries studied into three media models. The book explores what the differing coverage decisions suggest about underlying attitudes to criminals and crime and how justice in a democracy is best served. Today, journalists’ work can be disseminated around the world without any consideration of whether what’s being told (or how) might dissolve cultural differences or undermine each community’s right to set its own standards to best reflect its citizens’ values. At present, unique reporting practices persist among the three models, but the Internet and social media threaten to dissolve distinctions and the cultural values they reflect. There is a need for a journalism that both opens local conversations and bridges differences among nations. This book is a first step in that direction.