Bring me a murder a day

With the proliferation of 24-7 global media, understanding the connections between crime and the media have never been more important. The dominant public and political concern is that media representations of crime and justice are irresponsible, and that this irresponsibility has negative consequences for society and criminal justice professionals.

Across entertainment and news media, crime representations are seen variously to glamorise, sensationalise and distort. The media are blamed for 'copycat' crime and stand accused of amplifying fear of crime and insecurity and, as a result, politicising law and order.

Criminologists seek to inform public debate by looking beyond soundbites and generalisations to facilitate a more measured debate on the complex relationships between media and crime. Key areas of research include the commodification of crime news as a marketable product, the mechanisms through which media representations of crime are produced and transmitted, and the influence of media consumption on fear of crime, criminal behaviour, public opinion and policy making.

Researching Murder News

Despite all this, murder news - a form of media reporting to which we are sensationally exposed every day - remains distinctly under-researched. Only a tiny fraction of murder cases achieve news media visibility. Whilst the vast majority of murders are overlooked entirely by the news media, the right type of murder case can generate global and sustained media interest and is an extremely valuable news commodity.

Criminologists at City University London are working to better understand the highly selective reporting of murder in the UK news media. What are the characteristics of murder cases that trigger media interest? What are the emotions that news producers are seeking to arouse when reporting murder? How is murder communicated to a mass audience?

What impact does high profile media coverage have on murder investigations?
In order to fully comprehend the reporting of murder we need to do more than read eye-catching newspaper headlines. At City, a unique focus is placed upon developing research methods to analyse the increasing use of powerful visual images in media representations of crime. The criminological research conducted at the university feeds directly into the development of their teaching programmes. Postgraduate study at City is taught by specialist scholars from across the criminological discipline. This diversity of interest and expertise allows both for breadth of criminological study and research specialization.

Postgraduate students engage fully in the research culture of the University. One of their current priorities is to produce the next generation of criminologists and criminal justice professionals who can work in a 24/7 multi -media policy environment.

For further details on Postgraduate study and research opportunities available in Criminology at City University London, contact the School of Social Sciences on:

+44 (0) 20 7040 8500


or visit

Return to Training menu