CRIME AND MEDIA - 2025/6

Module code: SOC2067

Module Overview

The relationships between crime and the media have long been the subject of intense debate. This module introduces students to the sociological analysis of crime and its representation in the media. We will explore how crime is portrayed in the media and assess the extent to which such media representations are accurate. We will also examine what effects, if any, these representations have on offending and public opinion about crime as well as on criminal justice.

Module provider

Sociology

Module Leader

AKRIVOS Dimitris (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

N/A

Module content

Adopting an interdisciplinary approach by drawing on literature and research from criminology, sociology and media studies, the module critically examines the ways in which the media shape public perceptions of crime and justice, construct deviance and impact on responses to crime.

The module will begin by looking at a number of key theoretical perspectives and concepts (indicatively, moral panics, newsworthiness, media framing and the ideal victim).

It will then move on to offer an in-depth analysis of news representations of crime and criminal justice-related issues (for instance, sexual violence, female offenders and young people).

Finally, the extra-legal ‘trial-by-media’ process and the socio-cultural function of crime news reporting in multi-mediated democratic societies will be discussed. 

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation GROUP PRESENTATION 40
Coursework ESSAY 60

Alternative Assessment

An alternative assessment option has been established for students unable to complete the group presentation in the first instance. The alternative assessment will be a video presentation which students will pre-record and upload on Panopto

Assessment Strategy

The module’s assessment strategy comprises a group presentation and an essay.

 

The presentation allows students to critically analyse and discuss particular media representations of crime in a collaborative setting. Through the presentation, students demonstrate their ability to apply theoretical concepts and effectively communicate insights as a team.

 

The essay enables students to conduct an in-depth investigation into specific case studies involving media constructions of crime. By examining real-world cases and engaging with actual media content, students develop their subject knowledge and analytical skills.  

 

Overall, through the multifaceted assessment strategy, students will not only demonstrate an understanding of module material but also meaningfully enhance their academic and professional competencies. The assessments provide opportunities for students to actively engage with the module content while developing valuable transferable skills in research, teamwork, communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving which are beneficial across various disciplines and careers.

 

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

 


  • Group presentation (addresses learning outcomes: 1, 2 and 4)

  • Essay (addresses learning outcomes: 1, 3 and 4)



 

Formative assessment:

Students receive regular formative feedback during seminars. Students are also able to schedule one-to-one meetings with the module leader to discuss progress and assessments.

 

Feedback:

Throughout the module, students will receive detailed written feedback on their performance. This feedback is designed to be constructive, providing valuable insights into their strengths and areas for improvement. The goal is to offer students a clear understanding of their progress and to guide them towards academic success. The feedback will be timely, allowing students ample opportunity to absorb and integrate the suggestions into their work before the final summative assessment. This proactive approach ensures that students have the necessary time and support to enhance their skills, address identified areas of development, and ultimately excel in their academic endeavours.

 

Module aims

  • The module aims to explore the multifaceted relationship between the media, crime and criminal justice. It will provide students with opportunities to familiarise themselves with key theoretical debates in different areas of media criminology. More specifically, the module will consider how media portrayals of crime, criminals, victims and the criminal justice system have changed over time and examine these within their broader social, economic and political context. The module will also explore the connections between media portrayals of crime and criminal justice policy. Finally, the module will equip students with critical skills relevant to undertaking media analysis from a criminological standpoint.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
002 Demonstrate awareness of the socio-cultural processes through which the media can influence public perceptions of the crime problem and impact on criminal justice policy. KCT
003 Appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of different research methods used to analyse media content. KPT
004 Apply theoretical perspectives and concepts to concrete examples of media representations of crime, criminals, victims and criminal justice. CPT
001 Demonstrate knowledge of theoretical perspectives on media, crime and criminal justice and a critical appreciation of their interrelationships. KC

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy for this module employs a combination of lectures, case studies, and seminar discussions to achieve key objectives. Firstly, the strategy aims to develop students' understanding of the complex interrelationship between crime and various forms of media. Through their familiarization with key theoretical frameworks, students will critically analyse how crime is represented in different media contexts. The strategy incorporates diverse real-world examples from print media, television, film, and online spaces to shed light on mediated constructions of criminality and their influence on public perceptions of the crime problem. Students will also examine the media’s role in reproducing social inequalities as well as issues relating to media ethics. The learning activities integrate different forms of communication, including written analyses of media products, in-class debates, and seminar discussions. By aligning with these strategies, the module seeks to equip students with a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter while honing critical thinking and communication skills in a practical and applicable context.

 

The learning and teaching methods include:

Lectures, Seminars, Class exercises, Class discussions, Independent study

Each session focuses on one aspect of the complex interrelationship between media and crime. Sessions are split between lectures which aim to provide a broad introduction to a topic and seminars which aim to allow more in-depth discussion of key issues although interaction between lecturer and students is encouraged throughout. There will also be use of forms of media such as TV, film and radio.  Each session has one piece of primary reading which all students are expected to read. This reading provides the basis for class discussions. Additional reading is strongly encouraged too.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC2067

Other information

The School of Sociology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability: Students learn about the practices and ethics of different media organisations and the skills required to engage with them on a professional level. They have opportunities to work and receive feedback on formative assessments involving real-life scenarios. The module’s assessment strategy also promotes the development of key employability skills (critical thinking, conveying complex concepts in a concise and compelling manner, policy evaluation, time management).

Digital Capabilities: the module uses digital technologies (SurreyLearn, Panopto, PollEverywhere, Box of Broadcasts National) to promote student learning and facilitate in-class discussions. Students explore issues relating to the impact of new media technologies on criminal justice (e.g. the use of social media as a form of extra-legal justice). Students also learn how to use the news database Nexis UK for media analysis.

Global and Cultural Capabilities: The module introduces diverse perspectives through the use of case studies from a wide range of countries, cultures and environments. The use of audience participation software PollEverywhere provides all students (including those whose first language is not English) with equal opportunities to participate in class discussions.

Sustainability: The module encourages students to explore and reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of existing criminal justice institutions. By doing so, it incorporates several of the principles outlined in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – especially, Goal 7 (Gender Equality), 10 (Reduced Inequalities) and 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions).

Resourcefulness and Resilience (RR): The module utilises crime-related media content (videos, news stories, documentaries, films, music videos and other popular culture products) exploring RR in real-life contexts. The module also explores media ethics, inviting students to reflect on the media’s role in perpetuating (or challenging) harmful stereotypes and social injustices and inequalities. Students are provided with detailed guidance (module information, assessment brief, in-class discussions, peer feedback, personal tutorials) explaining how they are expected to achieve the module’s learning outcomes and clearly articulating how the module contributes to their broader ‘learning journey’.  

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Media and Communication BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology with Forensic Investigation BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology and Sociology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law with Criminology LLB (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.