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Jan 29, 2019 | Social Issues

Crime: How Media Frame Murder Stories For Public Opinion

By Catherine Forson Agbo
Crime: How Media Frame Murder Stories For Public Opinion

Crime is a noteworthy classification of news announced in the media. For what reason are paper correspondents and TV writers, so keen on covering murders? Violent crime, especially murder gives a remarkable chance to the media to outline news stories that in a way, quickly grabs the attention of readers and viewers who may view themselves as immune to the typical news story. Think of the death of Ahmad which has raised such a significant number of debates.

Murder victims from the rural area are more news commendable than the inhabitants of the inward city, in light of the fact that, educated and informed, middle-class individuals are less likely to be exploited or victimized. They may hold a vital position in society and more of the media audience can relate to them. Moreover, reporters get better human interest from the survivors “people also fantasizes about these stories in the inner cities; it is almost like they expected it to happen. Media use pathos to reach out to their targets. Survivors are paramount news targets because they add credibility to the story heard or investigated.

News framing is basically the structure to which news is broadcasted to viewers. There are two prevalent frames, which are;

  1. How awful is it” framing,
  2. “How true is it” framing

Framing 1: “How awful is it”
The first frame typically emphasizes the reality of the circumstance including how clueless people move toward becoming suspecting individual homicide victims just by being in an unlucky spot. In other words, anyone can turn into a causality of a homicide. Murder is newsworthy but some murders are more newsworthy than others. The response to the question “how awful was the incident” might be “gruesome”, “inhumane” or even terribly bad”.

The media framing makes viewers understand the state of the situation from afar to further analyze where and how the incident happened and most important ask themselves where they were when the incident happened.

Framing 2: “How true is it”
The second media framing device has to do with credibility and follows the question “How true is it”. This framing underlines some odd or novel qualities of the person in question, the culprit or both. The media focus on certain qualities makes victim murder increasingly newsworthy. The age and status of the victim are essential in making the news credible and worth paying attention to. For example; Children and elderly are viewed as exceptional groups of people in society because of their vulnerabilities. These characteristics, however, attract the interest of media person, especially when they are murdered. This is because, this category of people hare seen to merit a quiet and peaceful life; when such individuals are murdered the public express their displeasure and disappointment in the system, as these people should have been protected by the law.

Media has the power of public opinion, the ability to influence what the public should be talking about and what not to. Therefore, they utilize this power by framing stories that have to do with crimes and murders, for the purpose of winning the audience sympathy and trust.

Image source: wklaw.com

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