Newsworthiness of Child Abuse Cases

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Society is now what Downing, Mohammadi and Mohammadi (1990) would call a ‘media culture’, this is where the perceptions and images of reality are often shaped by the actions and decisions of news editors and producers (Surrette, 1992). The role of the media according to O’Shaughnessy and Stadler (2008) is to give the public an insight on what is happening in the world and to make sense of that information to the public. The main focus of this essay will be looking two main concepts which are newsworthiness and the dark figure of crime, relating 5 news articles that are centred around child abuse that have featured in the New Zealand Herald and
The media plays an important role in society by creating and shaping society’s attitudes about most current issues including child abuse. In New Zealand, as well as in the international media, the physical abuse of a child regularly features in the newspapers, magazines, radio and television (Merchant, 2010). When it comes to the public understanding of child abuse, this is influenced by the knowledge that they gain through reading newspapers or mass media like the television or radio. Kitzinger (2004) states that our individual view and sense of the world are a social construct and the media are an important resource to help us construct that world view.
The way that child abuse is reported in the media has become what you would call ‘entertainment’ where there seems to be an incline towards dramatising child abuse in a

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