COVID-19 information and resources
Douglas College wordmark
Facebook logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Snapchat logo YouTube logo Wordpress logo
back to search

Media, Crime and Criminal Justice

Course Code: CRIM 4420
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Criminology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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.

course prerequisites

CRIM 1150

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.