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The study seeks to introduce a new media model that (1) clearly illustrates the role of mass media in the transmission of cultural messages, and (2) helps to explain…
The study seeks to introduce a new media model that (1) clearly illustrates the role of mass media in the transmission of cultural messages, and (2) helps to explain variations in the reception and employment of cultural messages by members of the same culture.
Drawing on decades of theorizing in cultural sociology and communication studies, as well as data from two qualitative content analyses, a new model was developed, explained, and then applied to a specific cultural phenomenon.
Mass media are significant transmitters of cultural messages and play an influential role in shaping culture, yet the process is complex. There is great variety in what messages are accepted by different consumers, how they are interpreted, and how they ultimately are employed (or not). Further, cultures that include contradictory messages are more likely to inadvertently promote deviant paths to culturally valued goals.
First, the model only addresses one dimension of the relationship between mass media and culture; it does not explain cultural influences on mass media. Second, the model does not specifically address recent changes in the media landscape, though an accommodation is suggested. Finally, the model needs additional testing before its utility can be reasonably determined.
First, a new model is introduced that clearly illustrates the complex process by which cultural messages are transmitted to receivers via mass media. Second, the model introduces the concept of “cultural capacity” to complement existing concepts and advance understanding of the operation of culture.
Purpose: One of the objectives of this research was to identify whether “mad”, “bad” and “sad” frames, identified in modern news reporting in other Western nations, are…
Purpose: One of the objectives of this research was to identify whether “mad”, “bad” and “sad” frames, identified in modern news reporting in other Western nations, are also evident in historical newspapers in New Zealand, a nation geographically distant. Methodology/approach: Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze reporting of multiple-child murders in New Zealand between 1870 and 1930. Content was sourced from a digitized newspaper database and identified media frames were analyzed under the categories of “mad”, “bad” and “sad”. Findings: Historical New Zealand media constructed “mad,” “bad,” and “sad” frames for the killers, however, instead of being classified with a single frame many killers were portrayed using a combination of two or even three. In some cases, media ignored facts which could have provided an alternative portrayal of the killers. In other cases, no obvious frames were employed. Research limitations: This research does not include analysis of media frame building in modern news reporting. Originality/value: Media construction of frames for multiple-child killers in historical New Zealand news reporting has not been explored before.
Purpose: In this chapter, the authors posit that, shadowing the etiological crises in criminology, much crime media scholarship remains “lost in the mediascape.” The…
Purpose: In this chapter, the authors posit that, shadowing the etiological crises in criminology, much crime media scholarship remains “lost in the mediascape.” The authors outline why dominant positivist methodologies in crime media scholarship leave us lost and offer tools that researchers may use for better wayfinding in this complex and dynamic environment.
Methodology/approach: Drawing on the concept of liquid criminology, the authors join a growing chorus in the crime media field calling for methodological and theoretical concepts more reflective of the social dimensions of liquid modernity, that is, uncertainty, ambiguity, impermanence, precarity, etc.
Findings: The conditions of liquid modernity inform a mediascape characterized by an abundance of data, misinformation, disinformation, propaganda, and conspiracy theories resulting in collective disorientation and the inability to form coherent narratives about the past, present, or future. As such, these conditions defy positivistic conventions like representative sampling and demand new, imaginative approaches to the study of crime media. To that end, informed by the cultural criminological perspective, the authors offer two methodologies and one theoretical concept.
Research limitations: The authors believe our methodological and theoretical suggestions are best suited for analyzing themes and concepts among discourse around crime incidents that have significant legal and social implications. The authors offer no definitive answers, but hope to begin building a better toolbox for wayfinding in this digital wilderness.
Originality/value: The currently dominant methodology within crime media scholarship is a poor fit with contemporary media culture. Here, the authors begin to remedy that by proposing an orientation that fits better with the fluid, uncertain, and dynamic media environment that permeates our social world.
Purpose: This chapter explores the current hybridization between true crime and nonfiction investigative documentaries on Video on Demand (VOD) platforms. It would seem…
Purpose: This chapter explores the current hybridization between true crime and nonfiction investigative documentaries on Video on Demand (VOD) platforms. It would seem necessary to distinguish true crime productions from long-form journalistic documentaries in order to avoid confusion between different products that do not pursue the same ends, such as audiovisual products with highly emotive and engaging components versus a journalistic approach to the truth about what happened. Methodology/approach: The analysis is based on the specific theory of true crime developed by Punnett, who provides genuine narrative codes (Justice, Subversive, Geographic, Forensic, Vocative, and Folkloric) for true crime to distinguish it from the formal conventions and social objectives of journalistic documentaries. The case study (El crimen de Alcàsser) was selected because of its potential to drive a detailed and in-depth study on one of the most traumatic crimes in the country’s recent history: the kidnapping, rape, torture, and killing of three teenagers in 1992. Findings: Several scholars have identified journalistic elements in true crime productions in the digital context, adopted in an attempt to distance them from the true crime tradition of appealing to primitive instincts. Although it has been perceived also as a renewed formula for journalism to reach a wide audience and mainstream success, it banishes journalism from its origin and goals: to guarantee the citizenship’s right to be truly informed about crime. In this way, journalistic documentaries inspired by real crimes may play a crucial role in a democratic society, while true crime only exploits the empathy of viewers and places them in the active participation of determining the suspect-protagonist’s guilt as a mode of “clickable” entertainment in the digital culture. Research limitations: This is the first in a series of studies within a broader research project on true crime documentaries released on the VOD platforms in Spain. The findings are, in this case, preliminary. The analysis needs additional testing before its utility can be reasonably determined and a theory about true crime made in Spain could be developed. Originality: First, there is no specific research in the field of true crime in Spain, although crime stories already enjoyed a prominent place in Spain’s conventional TV programming. Second, the Punnett analysis model introduces an interesting way to complement existing theoretical references about the connections between true crime and journalism.
Purpose: This study explored technology-mediated abuse (TMA) by looking at the influence of topic exposure via education (in/formal), media (non/fictional), and personal…
Purpose: This study explored technology-mediated abuse (TMA) by looking at the influence of topic exposure via education (in/formal), media (non/fictional), and personal experiences (self/close others) in shaping public knowledge, understandings, and perceptions of TMA.
Methodology: Community-sampled respondents (N = 551; n = 235 men, 263 women; aged 18–81 years, M = 27.42, SD = 12.31) reported their TMA awareness and topic exposure (n = 110; 20% of the total sample indicated prior exposure).
Findings: Results indicated TMA knowledge, understanding, and perceptions varied by prior sources of topic exposure. This suggests that TMA is a crime varying in public awareness and perceived repercussions.
Research limitations: Open-ended responses, although ideal for exploratory studies such as this one, limit the scope and power of quantitative analyses. Future work should test the current study’s conclusions in a generalizable, random sample via closed-item surveys.
Originality/value: Present findings elucidate which societal forces and education types are best suited for helping people understand TMA in all its complexity. Such understanding allows for practical considerations of the comparative in/effectiveness of formal curriculum and media in shaping cognitions regarding TMA victimization.
Purpose: The study makes use of situational crime prevention framework for analyzing online community reactions to the banning of deepfake pornographic content from Reddit.…
Purpose: The study makes use of situational crime prevention framework for analyzing online community reactions to the banning of deepfake pornographic content from Reddit.
Methodology/approach: Qualitative text analysis of user comments posted to Reddit’s rule-change announcement (N = 582) was carried out. Analysis relied on the original 25 techniques of situational crime prevention that were adapted into a table of activities and mechanisms meant specifically for use with online platforms.
Findings: Analysis indicates that Reddit users voiced several shortcomings that are currently present in Reddit’s platform management approach. In particular, users emphasized issues related to the lack of a consistent and transparent approach to community rule enforcement, as users believed the rule changes to be sudden and poorly reasoned. The general reactionary nature of Reddit’s approach to moderating community-harming actions also was a point of emphasis, alongside the platform’s continued rigid stance on freedom of expression, even with regard to illegal and demeaning content. Regarding Reddit and the new rules on involuntary pornography and the sexualization of minors, enforcement of sitewide policy appears contingent on external influences, such as attention from mainstream media or financial matters, rather than stemming from an inherent stance on decreasing community-harming activities.
Research limitations: The study only pertains to a specific rule change by Reddit and subsequent reactions from the platform’s community. Future research is needed to test the applicability of the adapted table of 25 techniques of situational crime prevention in the context of other online platforms.
Originality/value: First, the study applies the situational crime prevention approach in the context of moderating online platforms. Second, results from the study shed light on current practices in online content moderation from the perspective of criminological theory, as well as inform specific actions that can be taken to decrease the presence of community-harming phenomena and improve the enforcement of sitewide policy rules in general. Finally, by adapting the original 25 techniques of situational crime prevention to online content moderation, the study suggests a tentative roadmap for similar research in the future.
Purpose: Media violence theorists made five methodological errors, which have muddled theory construction. As such, the validity of the claim that media violence must…
Purpose: Media violence theorists made five methodological errors, which have muddled theory construction. As such, the validity of the claim that media violence must share blame for a rise in aggression in society is suspect.
Approach: Here, the authors explain those five errors: (1) Subclinical psychopathologies interact with media messages in detectable ways. Media violence researchers never paid attention to the composition of their participant samples. Consequently, they were never aware of the inherent vulnerabilities, or immunities, to media violence of their participants. (2) Media violence researchers used convenience samples when they should have used random samples to study media violence. The nature of the research questions they were asking required the use of random samples. But, with the use of convenience samples, those samples never matched the populations they were designed to examine. (3) Media violence researchers used expansive variable lists that probably triggered family-wise interaction effects, thus reporting interactions between independent and dependent variables that were meaningless. (4) Most media violence data are correlational. So, researchers used converged data from correlational studies to infer causation. But their convergence procedures were improperly executed, which led to incorrect interpretations. (5) Media violence researchers, from the outset of their work in the 1980s, pathologized media violence first, then set about trying to find out how it presumably harmed society. Those researchers should have considered the idea that media violence is nothing more than mere entertainment for most people.
Value: In addition to questioning the claims made by media violence researchers, these five errors serve as a cautionary tale to social media researchers. Scholars investigating the effects of social media use might consider the possibility that social media are nothing more than new modes of communication.