How Does the Media Affect Homicide Investigations?

1603 Words7 Pages
Media conduct in homicide investigations is a complex issue. On one hand, the media can be an important instrument for generating valuable information from the general public. On the other hand, dealing with the media can take up limited time, energy and resources during the critical early stages of an investigation. Through this comprehensive research paper, I will be able to identify the impacts that the media has on homicide investigations. The media can help some cases and can hurt others. Frequently, police departments will give the media information about a case in hopes that a witness will contact them or their tip line with information. Sometimes the media will go out and talk to neighbors in the area surrounding the crime scene and create false information to get reactions; this may boost ratings, but in turn will hurt the investigation. The media may focus on a certain type of murder and may cause public outcry making that particular case a higher priority. The media can make a considerable contribution to these investigations by providing access to and engaging the support of the general public. In this sense, an effective media strategy is a vital part of an investigative approach. However, scholarly study of the factors affecting homicide clearances is at the same point as scholarly study of police patrol officers more than 50 years ago. (Hay, Fortson, Hollist, Altheimer & Schaible, 2006) There is strong support for the argument that the prominence of homicide and the particular importance of homicide clearances cause homicide detectives to work aggressively to clear all homicides irrespective of where they occur or the characteristics of homicide victims. Also, that outpour from communities and media coverage force investigators to focus on highly publicized cases. While it is difficult to overemphasize the positive contribution of the media to
Open Document