Knowledge regarding crime is heavily derived from news sources such as newspapers and television news programs. The pervasiveness and perceived omniscient state of the news leaves the consumer vulnerable to the media's distortion of events. Crime as depicted through the news does not necessarily coincide with reality as reporters, writers, and editors have constructed the information given to consumers. Prior to appearing in print, or on the television screen, material is subjected to editing, and therefore, news can be considered a faction of crime fiction. In studying news as crime fiction, I will perform a comparative analysis of the stylistic features and conventions between crime fiction novels and crime news reports.
To begin, the differences between various media outlets and the way in which they interpret and present crime should be acknowledged. News is presented in a variety of formats, including television, newspapers, tabloids, and magazines. Each possesses a distinct structure and thereby produces information in an idiosyncratic manner. In the interest of presenting a focused argument, the comparative analysis will be limited to the Toronto Star's production of crime fiction. The Toronto Star was established in 1892 by Joseph Atkinson and is currently Canada's largest daily newspaper with the most populous consumer base (Cruickshank About the Toronto Star). Therefore, the Toronto Star serves as an excellent source for comparison.
[...] “About the Toronto Star”. The Star. Web Oct McCormick, Christopher. Constructing Danger: emotions and the mis/representation of crime in the news. New York: Fernwood Publishing Print. O'Flynn, Catherine. What was Lost. Great Britain: Tindal Street Press Print. [...]
[...] Motive is another subject covered by both news and crime fiction. Motive is an integral faction of crime as readers attempt to discern what reasons or circumstances would influence an individual to commit heinous acts. Within What Was Lost, child detective, Kate Meaney, is quite aware of the importance of motive when attempting to identify a criminal, or potential criminal. When observing individuals she notes, criminal motive apparent and so Mickey and I moved away quickly” (O'Flynn 17). Discerning a motive allows individual to gain access to the criminal's mind and to delve deeper into criminal behaviour. [...]
[...] Police and detectives act as authority figures; regulating the law. Within the news and crime fiction, these two professions are frequently displayed as the ‘good guys' who are in opposition to the guys'. They habitually are portrayed catching the bad guy, supporting the common discourse of ‘good triumphing over evil'. However, within What Was Lost the police are initially presented as being unable to identify the individual responsible for Kate's disappearance. They wrongly ascertain Adrian as the culprit, and although the guilty individual is eventually identified, the police are portrayed as sedentary throughout most of the text. [...]
[...] Motive is thereby a prevalent theme in both news and crime fiction. Furthermore, the Toronto Star and What Was Lost create a clear distinction between what is right and wrong. Human thought processes are often dualistic, and therefore, humans often think about the world in pairs as a product of how the human brain works. This binary categorization of the world influences the construction of the moral code, defining actions and behaviours as either right or wrong, good or evil. [...]
[...] Pink functions as a liaison between the judicial system and the press. He states that the aim of the news is get to the scoop, to grab attention, to make a big splash” (McCormick 188). The objective of the media is therefore not merely to inform the public, but to provide content that sparks audience interest. Within the Toronto Star and What Was Lost an aura of mystery is present. Mystery serves to heighten suspense and maintain the reader's attention. [...]
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