Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
O'Brien, A;Culloty, E
2020
December
Journalism
Reporting familicide-suicide in broadcast media: An Irish case study to inform better practice
Published
2 ()
Optional Fields
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FATALITIES NEWSPAPER COVERAGE NEWS COVERAGE FEMICIDE PORTRAYAL
News media coverage plays an important role in the public recognition of intimate partner homicide (IPH) and familicide as crimes. However, studies find that news coverage typically fails to contextualise these crimes, relies on non-expert sources, and often engages in victim-blaming. Existing studies have primarily investigated print media. The lack of attention to broadcast media is significant because broadcast news attracts a larger share of public attention and it relies on distinct routines and practices that may influence coverage. To address this gap, this study presents an in-depth analysis of the broadcast news coverage surrounding a 2016 case of familicide-suicide in Ireland. Our analysis identifies patterns of decontextualisation, non-expert sourcing and perpetrator exoneration. Specifically, coverage decontextualised the crime through an emphasis on the family and the response of the community and through the privileging of (male) local sources, including male religious voices, over expert sources. Although victim-blaming was not very explicit, coverage frequently exonerated the perpetrator through references to his good character. Thus, we find that broadcast news replicates the patterns of print news and that the preference for on-the ground reporting privileged sources who were proximate to the crime rather than those who could provide an expert understanding of it. These findings are discussed in terms of efforts to change media practices for more accurate representations of IPH and familicide in news media.
THOUSAND OAKS
1464-8849
10.1177/1464884920978028
Grant Details