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Framing homicide narratives in newspapers: mediated witnesses and the construction of virtual victimhood.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>08/2006
<mark>Journal</mark>Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal
Issue number2
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)159-175
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish


This article identifies ways in which newspapers invite readers to identify with victims and victimhood as a route to engaging them in ‘human interest’ stories. Within this framing of homicide for readers as ‘mediated witness’, some of the authorial techniques are explored whereby newspapers engage readers in a stylized dialogue that contributes to the construction of public narratives about homicide. It is argued that researchers, as well as working at a macro level, need to research at the micro level of textual analysis when researching media (including visual media) in order to understand the framing that contributes to public narratives; hence there is analysis of techniques of (a) defamiliarization and (b) objectification of homicide victims. These are some of the means by which the reader is placed as witness, both apparently ‘experiencing’ crime for personal consumption yet, publicly, allowed to recover (unlike real victims of major crime). The recognition of a need for micro-level analysis raises questions about the functions of public narratives, particularly in expressing, exploring and containing public or social emotion, in an era in which public responses to crime have been placed at the top of a highly politicized crime agenda.

Bibliographic note

RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Social Work and Social Policy & Administration