eCite Digital Repository

Justice, politics and the social usefulness of news


Konkes, C and Lester, L, Justice, politics and the social usefulness of news, Crime, Media, Culture: an international journal, 12, (1) pp. 17-35. ISSN 1741-6590 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© The Author(s) 2015. Reprints and permissions:

DOI: doi:10.1177/1741659015599975


In 2009 in Hobart, Australia, a 12-year-old ward of the state was advertised in a metropolitan newspaper as an 18-year-old prostitute. The decision to prosecute only one of the 100-plus men alleged to have paid her for sex made national headlines and gave rise to allegations of a conspiracy involving the highest levels of government and the judiciary. It also resulted in reform of the state’s laws relating to the ‘mistake as to age’ defence. This paper examines news coverage of the institutional responses to this criminal matter in order to theoretically understand the relationship between contemporary journalistic representations of crime and politicised controversy about social problems such as child sexual exploitation. Drawing on an analysis of problem framing in news coverage and interviews with journalists and their sources, it investigates how the news value of the story was identified and seeks to identify the point at which news coverage tipped beyond social usefulness towards public outrage and conspiracy.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Social problems, social action, sex crime, news criminology, child sexual exploitation, problem
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Communication and media studies
Research Field:Media studies
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Communication
Objective Field:The media
UTAS Author:Konkes, C (Dr Claire Konkes)
UTAS Author:Lester, L (Professor Libby Lester)
ID Code:102894
Year Published:2016 (online first 2015)
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2015-09-09
Last Modified:2018-02-17

Repository Staff Only: item control page