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CRI2211 Crime, Justice and the Media

Semester 1, 2022 Online
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Law and Justice
Student contribution band : 2021 Grandfather Funding Cl 1
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 30 June 2022


Examiner: Andrew Hickey


The media, in all its forms, is a central feature of everyday life in today’s society. Television, news and social media dominate the dissemination of information, driven by political and social agendas. In particular, both factual and fictional depictions of crime and criminals feature regularly in the media as well as the criminal justice system’s responses. Research shows that public perceptions about crime, criminals and the criminal justice system are predominantly influenced by the media. In addition to the media being a portal for framing crime in particular ways, ever changing and evolving media technologies also provide new ways of ‘doing crime’. Criminological studies of crime and the media form an essential component to students’ learning about how crime is portrayed, perceived and responded to. Due to the intensified use and reliance upon media in more recent decades, crime and the media studies are central to the major in criminology and criminal justice.

Crime and the media share a relationship that is both complex and inter-influential. On the one hand crime, in all its various forms, inspires and influences both factual and fictional depictions of crime within society. On the other hand, modern media platforms have given rise to crimes being perpetrated in new and innovative ways. Together, the use of media to represent, as well as perpetrate crime, has the greatest influence on people's perceptions of crime salience, and the extent to which people fear crime. In this course, students will be introduced to theoretical perspectives applied to explain the connection between crime and the media, and the tendency for the media to sensationalise crime. The portrayal of particular crime types and particular offender types as described in criminological literature as moral panics and folk devils will also be examined, along with media constructions of the `deserving' or `undeserving' victim. Connected intricately to crime, criminals, victims is the criminal justice system. As a formal agency that exists to prevent, detect, and respond to crime and criminals, media representations of the criminal justice system form a key component to students' learning throughout this course.

Course learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. illustrate the connection between crime and the media;
  2. critically appraise media representations of crime, criminals, victims and the criminal justice system;
  3. apply criminological theory and perspectives to media representations of crime;
  4. appraise the impact of the media on public perceptions of crime, criminals, victims and the criminal justice system;
  5. examine media influences on public expectations about preventing, detecting, investigating and responding to crime;
  6. appraise the media’s influence on the public’s perspectives about crime through application of criminological theory/thought.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Course overview and introduction to crime, justice and the media 20.00
2. The main characters of crime in the media 20.00
3. Fact or fiction? Constructions of crime in the media 20.00
4. Monitoring and perpetrating crime via media 20.00
5. Influence of crime in the media 20.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Student workload expectations

To do well in this subject, students are expected to commit approximately 10 hours per week including class contact hours, independent study, and all assessment tasks. If you are undertaking additional activities, which may include placements and residential schools, the weekly workload hours may vary.

Assessment details

Description Weighting (%) Course learning outcomes
Essay 10 1,2,5
Proposal 40 1,2,5
Project 50 2,3,4,5,6
Date printed 30 June 2022