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If it Bleeds it Leads: An interview study and a discourse analysis of crime reporting in South African Radio
Örebro universitet, Humanistiska institutionen.
2008 (Engelska)Självständigt arbete på grundnivå (kandidatexamen), 10 poäng / 15 hpStudentuppsats
Abstract [en]

The primary purpose of this thesis was to examine, by in depth-interviews, how reporters and news editors in four regional radio stations in South Africa perceive themselves to carry out the role as a credible news source in terms of crime reporting. In addition, the thesis had two secondary purposes. One purpose was to examine, by a discourse analysis, how online news are constructed discursively. Also, one purpose was to examine the relationship between the radio and the police. Finally, the study examined how perceptions on crime reporting differed from commercial radio stations to community radio stations. The aim was to reveal radio’s potential to practice journalistic ideals in a developing democracy where media in the context of freedom of expression is relatively new.

The theoretical framework in the thesis focused on media and democracy development in emerging democracies in general and in South Africa, in particular. Theories of journalistic ideals were used to investigate the values that media proclaim to follow in their daily work. Also, theories of crime reporting and news criteria were explored to stress the external and internal variables that influence the agenda of crime reporting.

Results show that as crime is so common in South Africa crime is no longer considered as news. Also, crime is not a criterion in itself but has to meet other criteria as well such as a certain level of drama and violence. As a result, the radio stations in this study prioritize crimes that are violent and sensationalistic. Furthermore, the information on crime comes from several sources but the reporters in this study tend to perceive the information from the police spokesperson as most reliable and valid. In addition, the discourse analysis confirms this result as six of eight articles origin from the police. The results further showed that there are no differences between the community radio stations and the commercial radio stations in terms of how they approach crime. However, the discourse analysis shows that the commercial radio stations more often used the police as the main source in their articles. Still, it is the focus of the radio station that determines the differences. Also, it is the journalistic rules and the traditional perception of how news should be constructed discursively that determine the design of news. Moreover, the reporters in this study have not experienced pressure from external sources while covering a story. In addition, it is unusual that the respondents experience risks in their job and the radio reporters claims to be unaffected by external pressure. The relationship between the police and the reporters is perceived to be good.

Conclusively, the radio stations in this study do not counteract to the divided society in South Africa as they are emphasizing some crimes more than others which strengthens the perception of who commits the crime, who the victims are and what crimes that should be perceived as more important. As the radio stations have a heavy coverage of crime in their news bulletins crime has become a normalization which can reinforce a fear among the public. Also, the reporters believe that they are not reflecting everyone’s reality. As a result, the discursive sphere is slowly fading as commercial interest determines the news agenda.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
2008. , s. 57
Nyckelord [en]
crime reporting, South Africa, Emerging Democracy
Nationell ämneskategori
Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-2490ISRN: ORU-HUM/MKV-C--08/0019--SEOAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-2490DiVA, id: diva2:136314
Presentation
(Engelska)
Uppsök
samhälle/juridik
Handledare
Examinatorer
Tillgänglig från: 2008-10-09 Skapad: 2008-10-09 Senast uppdaterad: 2017-10-18

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