Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


Media criminology is a developing sub-discipline of criminology, as the public's interest in consuming true crime increases in every format. This subject examines representations of crime in the media, including news, journalism, online discussions, film, TV, and podcasts. Using relevant criminological and sociological theories, it relates to media representation to wider understandings of crime and deviance. Key areas covered include representations of class, gender and race in relation to crime, urban, suburban and rural distinctions; institutional relations between advocates, journalists and key figures in the justice system; the role of moral panics; and the connections between youth cultures, labelling and social problems.



  • Semester 1 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Identify different types of media influence, as applied to understanding crime and criminality.

2. Understand the relationship between crime, class, and social disadvantage.

3. Recognise the influence of ‘framing’ in relation to representations of crime in the media.

4. Analyse deviance and its function in constructing cultures of crime.

5. Critique practices of social control and the use of power through media outlets.


The focus of this course are the many mechanisms by which the media (in all formats) frame crime, criminality, and the notion of victimisation in various contexts. The course will introduce a range of research and theoretical approaches linking representations of crime with social structures, institutions and cultures. The concept of ‘moral panic’ will be linked to the collection and publication of crime statistics and to discourses and practices of social control and the use of power. The representation of sub-cultures and deviance in the use of public space and the operation of sensationalism and moral entrepreneurship in deviance amplification will be critically analysed. Space will be employed as a key concept in the understanding of deviance, whether physical or virtual, urban or rural. The course will trace changing media perspectives, assessing who has the power to label people as criminals and victims. The impact of the citizen journalist will also be evaluated.  

Assumed knowledge

40 Units at 1000 Level

Assessment items

Essay: Essay (50%)

Report: Media Report and Presentation (25%)

In Term Test: Quiz x 2 (25%)

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks starting in week 1


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 11 Weeks starting in week 2

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.