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The concept of a constructed news story, or stories as the case may be, centers on the concept that coverage is selective, only relating those stories that support a desired outcome. As it has been portrayed in the media, this concept is responsible for the general opinion among the public that the prison system works at least to a nominal degree. The failures are suggested to be occurring as a result of greater need for strict controls rather than because of systemic, practical or ineffective practices. According to Mathieson (2000), the rising rates of crime, including crime committed by women, is construed by the media as evidence that more prisons are needed as well as tougher laws constraining behaviour. In addition, the escalation of crime is itself elevated as news reports tend to focus on the small percentage of violent and sexual crimes and, as a result, over-represent the percentage of criminal activity these crimes entail (Sparks, 1992; Livingstone et al, 2001; Roberts, 2001; Wykes, 2001; Reiner et al 2003). In portraying crime in this manner, those who are convicted of committing any crime, regardless of their gender or the nature of their crime, immediately become associated with this dangerous element that functions to instill yet more fear in a believing and misinformed public.Through this portrayal of prisons as part of a system of law enforcement that works to curtail violent crime and reform criminals, the media has adopted the New Labour contention that prisons are necessary for the proper care and function of a peaceful society. This concept is supported by frequent coverage of state initiatives in which prisons can be seen to be working through the diligent efforts of yellow jacketed prisoners working off their debt to society through mandatory volunteer work and their apparent eagerness to sign proffered pledges in which they promise to adhere to the law in the future (Home Office, 2006). With these types of promises regarding the effectiveness of prisons to keep the public safe, as well as the light touch on reporting prison issues that remains just enough to call for more support for prisons while still supporting the need, there is little opportunity or incentive for the media to call attention to the inherent problems with the system (Ryan & Sim, 2006). In addition, the media bias in favour of prisons and in demonizing the criminals makes it difficult
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preview essay on BA- JOURNALISM
  • Pages: 10 (2500 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Unsorted
  • Level: Undergraduate
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