Loughborough University
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After the panic: an investigation of the relationship between the reporting and remembering of child related crime

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posted on 2015-02-23, 12:31 authored by Georgina Payne
This thesis considers why some crimes persist beyond the moment of newsworthiness and how they are able to transcend this period of intense reporting to become a feature of popular memory. The central argument is that the popular memory of a crime is built up over time through a synthesis of public discourses, which are predominantly developed in news reporting, people s everyday experience and the normative social frameworks of everyday life. A temporally sensitive analysis of two case studies, the murder of James Bulger and the murder of Sarah Payne, tests this hypothesis by exploring the connections and disconnections between the ongoing reporting of these crimes and the remembering of them. The study finds that the personal past and public discourse intertwine in remembered accounts of these crimes and considers that this is evidence of the ways audiences utilise crime news as an imaginative resource for understanding crime and criminality more broadly. It can thus be said that audiences use the news to frame, but not define their understandings of the world around us.


Loughborough University



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies


© Georgina Payne

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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