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A critical discourse analysis of the whole life tariff, within newspaper journalism.

Hodson, Ava (2017) A critical discourse analysis of the whole life tariff, within newspaper journalism. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Narratives of violent crime are ubiquitous within news media, where serial murder and other violent crimes serve to tantalize readers’ attention as a form of entertainment (Reiner, 2007; Wiest, 2016). Chibnall’s (1977) seminal imperatives of newsworthiness were employed to critically analyse journalistic narratives of the whole life tariff within two case studies of murder. Sixteen articles were analysed using Critical Discourse Analysis as a methodology, assessing gender and social inequality, journalistic style and news ideology, based upon social constructivist notions that discourse is constitutive in creating and sustaining social realities (Burman and Parker, 1993; Wood and Kroger, 2000). The discussion of these ideas is embedded within the analysis. The results suggest fundamental differences in the portrayal of female and male criminals, and their victims alike. Furthermore, as Muchado and Santos (2009) suggest, inherent variance exists within newspaper ‘quality’ portrayals.

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