Media, Crime and Criminal Justice

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
CRIM 4420
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course examines the relationship between media, crime and the criminal justice system. Emphases are placed on how various types of media construct or perceive criminal activities, how the media influences public policy and shapes perceptions of crime as a social problem. Students will learn to interpret and analyze specific examples of media representations of crime. Topics include crime news and entertainment, the media as a cause, consequence and cure for crime and news making criminology.
Course Content
  1. Introduction
    • History of Media and Crime
    • Images of Crime and Criminality
    • Claims and Claimsmakers
    • Moral Panics
    • Media and the Criminal Justice System
  2. Social Constructionism
    • Social Construction of Crime and Justice
    • The Role of Media
    • Content and Imagery
    • Criminal Justice Ideologies
    • Gender and Sexuality
    • Race and Socioeconomic Status
    • Violence and Aggression
  3. Consequences of Crime
    • Media as a Cause
    • Media as a Cure
    • Case Studies
  4. Media Portrayals of the Criminal Justice in Action
    • Police
    • Courts
    • Corrections
  5. Media and Criminal Justice Policy
    • Social Construction of Criminal Justice Policy
    • Public Agenda
    • Political Efforts and Responses
    • Media Research
    • Technology
  6. Current Issues
    • Internet
    • Reality TV
    • Copycat Crimes
    • CSI Effect
    • Penal Populism
    • Disinformation/Fake News
  7.  Media Relations
    • Analysis
    • Training
Methods Of Instruction

This course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:

  • Lectures
  • Seminar presentations
  • Audiovisual/Video
  • Small group discussions
  • Research projects
  • Research papers
Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy.  The instructor will provide a written course outlines with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester.  Evaluation will be based on some of the following:

  1. Short answer tests
  2. Exams
  3. Oral presentation
  4. Research project/term project
  5. Class participation/group discussion
  6. Journal assignment/weekly questions
  7. Group project

 An example of one possible evaluation scheme would be:

Weekly Critiques
     10 @ 2.5% each
Individual Application Presentation  15%
Term Paper  30%
Final Exam  30%
Total  100%
Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe varying portrayals of crime and deviance in media.
  2. Critically identify different types of media and media content.
  3. Examine media’s role in reporting and explaining crime.
  4. Employ qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to investigate the relationship between media, crime and the criminal justice system.
  5. Critique crime and criminal justice content in news and entertainment media.
  6. Analyze the media’s influence on public attitudes and perceptions of crime and criminality.
  7. Examine the media’s influence on formal responses to crime and deviance.
  8. Explain the consequences of bias, spin and framing on public understanding of crime and the criminal justice system.
  9. Assess relevant theoretical perspectives of crime and deviance and the media.
  10. Analyze the importance of the interplay between mass media, entertainment news and criminal justice operations.
  11. Critically evaluate how deviance and crime are created and maintained by the media and agents of social control.
  12. Deconstruct media imagery as it relates to crime and criminal justice.
Textbook Materials

Texts will be updated periodically.  Typical examples are:

  • Surette, Ray. (2015). Media, Crime and Criminal Justice: Images, Realities, and Policies (5th ed. ). Pacific Grove, CA:  Brooks/Cole. 
  • Jewkes, Yvonne. (2015). Media and Crime (3rd ed.). London: SAGE.
  • jewkes, Yvonne and Travis Linnemann.  (2018).  Media and Crime in the U.S. California:  SAGE Publications Ltd. 
  • McCormick, Chris. (1995). Constructing Danger: The Mis/Representation of crime in the News. Halifax: Fernwood.
  • Chomsky, Noam. (1989).  Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies. Toronto: CBC.
  • Muraskin, Roslyn and Domash, Shelly Feuer. (2007). Crime and the Media:  Headlines vs. Reality. Pearson: New Jersey.
  • Boyle, Karen. (2005). Media and Violence. London: SAGE.






No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Requisite for

This course is not required for any other course.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

Institution Transfer Details Effective Dates
Athabasca University (AU) AU CRJS 2XX (3) 2012/01/01 to -
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU CRIM 2205 (3) 2012/01/01 to -
Langara College (LANG) LANG CRIM 2XXX (3) 2012/01/01 to -
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU CRIM 4XX (3) 2018/01/01 to -
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU CRIM 412 (3) 2012/01/01 to 2017/12/31
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU CRIM 3XXX (3) 2012/01/01 to -
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU HUMA 4XX (3) 2012/01/01 to -
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO SOCI 2nd (3) 2012/01/01 to -
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV CRIM 416 (3) 2012/01/01 to -
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC SOCI 3XX (1.5) 2012/01/01 to -

Course Offerings

Winter 2021

There aren't any scheduled upcoming offerings for this course.