Indelible shame? News reporting of non-convictions in digital space

Hess, Kirsty and Waller, Lisa 2015, Indelible shame? News reporting of non-convictions in digital space, in Proceedings of the 2015 ANZCA Conference: Rethinking Communication, Space and Identity, ANZCA, Otago, New Zealand, pp. 1-10.

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Title Indelible shame? News reporting of non-convictions in digital space
Author(s) Hess, KirstyORCID iD for Hess, Kirsty
Waller, LisaORCID iD for Waller, Lisa
Conference name ANZCA Conference (2015: Queenstown, New Zealand)
Conference location Queenstown, New Zealand
Conference dates 2015/07/08 - 2015/12/10
Title of proceedings Proceedings of the 2015 ANZCA Conference: Rethinking Communication, Space and Identity
Editor(s) Paterno,D
Publication date 2015
Series ANZCA Conference Proceedings
Start page 1
End page 10
Total pages 10
Publisher ANZCA
Place of publication Otago, New Zealand
Keyword(s) naming and shaming
media shaming
Summary This paper examines the role of media in publicising the names of people who receive a non-conviction for a minor crime. It positions the news media’s ability to “name and shame” people who appear before the courts as a powerful cultural practice, rather than adopt a widely celebrated Fourth Estate view of the press as a watchdog on the judicial process. The research draws on interviews conducted in two regional centres of Victoria, Australia, with those involved in news coverage of very minor crimes where non-convictions were imposed. Their spoken words reveal a range of tensions linked to reporting non-convictions in the digital age. In the eyes of the law, a non-conviction means that an offender has an opportunity to rehabilitate away from the public gaze. However, the news media ‘s ability to name such offenders online has the potential to impose a lasting “mark of shame” in digital space that can prevent them gaining employment or housing, and damage their social standing and relationships. We live in a media-saturated culture in which the vast majority of people rely on news media for information about judicial proceedings and in turn, the news media constructs public understanding of the law through the way it represents crime and court processes. This paper argues that traditional understanding of the nexus between the judicial system and the Fourth Estate fails to acknowledge the news media’s considerable power outside the officially recognised operation of the open justice relationship, and that this deserves attention in the digital age
ISSN 1448-4331
Language eng
Field of Research 200101 Communication Studies
Socio Economic Objective 950204 The Media
HERDC Research category E1 Full written paper - refereed
ERA Research output type E Conference publication
Copyright notice ©2015, AZNCA
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Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Communication and Creative Arts
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