R. Smith Fullerton
It’s an irony of crime coverage: the best stories are the worst stories. And yet, most of us can’t get enough. The tales reporters tell about victims and villains profoundly affect many aspects of our lives—from spicing up ‘water-cooler talk’, to influencing legislation, to colouring how safe we feel on our streets and in our homes. Working from media coverage of Canadian crimes, this course will explore some of the perennial issues in crime reporting, and consider how changes in technology, media business practices, and professional journalistic ethics, shape the stories we see and hear daily in mainstream news. Using crime coverage as a key, we will explore the implications of “othering” both perpetrators and victims, and consider Canadians’ attitudes toward presumption of innocence, justice, and the public right to know.