Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Cullen P.;O’Brien A.;Corcoran M.
Media, Culture and Society
Reporting on domestic violence in the Irish media: an exploratory study of journalists’ perceptions and practices
9 ()
Optional Fields
conventions domestic violence institutional practices Irish media journalists sources
© The Author(s) 2019. Media representations of domestic violence continue to be problematic. Few studies engage with journalists to understand how and why problematic representations are produced and endure. This research addresses that gap by exploring the challenges to journalists of reporting domestic violence. The key findings are that sources, conventions, and institutional constraints all constitute challenges to accurate reporting. Journalists note that police sources tend to avoid defining domestic violence as such. Consequently, problematic sources such as bystanders and community commentators are used. In addition, a number of long-held conventions prevail, including a default construction of reporting only the ‘facts of the situation’; avoiding using the term domestic violence; and referring to incidents as singular, exceptional, and unexpected, with no connection made to other similar stories or broader aspects of gendered violence. Editors also place greater scrutiny on journalists working on domestic violence stories because of potential legal repercussions regarding defamation and adherence to court reporting’s strict guidelines. Finally, relationships with domestic violence advocates are important for journalists in accessing expertise to help frame better understandings of the complexities of the issue. Until these structural and cultural problems in reporting are changed, much of the current misframing of domestic violence will endure.
Grant Details