Peter Steward's Web Site
It was never my aim to come up with conclusions, but I do have a number of feelings following my research (and by this I mean my entire MA work and not just this dissertation). I believe that the Media wield great power and have the ability to potentially affect the lives of every person in both our country and the world. I also believe we are in the middle of a powerful Media explosion. The Media themselves feed off each other and what appears in one medium very quickly spreads to others.
My research has also established that in many cases there are few set guidelines for journalists dealing with victims and this can only be to the detriment of the victims. Journalists, like any other professional people, are having to make decisions about how they balance the competing demands on them and this often dictates the way they carry out their work.
Where guidelines do not exist it almost gives editors and individual journalists carte blanch to behave in any way that they think fit and this can often mean in an excessive manner. Even where guidelines exist, they are open to individual interpretation and can never be binding.
At the same time my research indicates that many journalists do think seriously about the way that they treat victims and are themselves a victim of the excesses of their own trade. Some even went as far as to almost disown the more extreme members of their profession.
The Media is a massive body of contrasting people, contrasting thoughts, contrasting beliefs and contrasting styles.
I have analysed my own feelings towards my work and would like to list a number of thoughts which open up whole new fields of research. Many of the thoughts below seem to be contradictory as is the case with points four and seven. The thoughts include the following:
1/ All victims of crime must be treated as individuals. The Police should never attempt to “protect” the victim from the Media without first establishing how the victim feels about the Media. I have found on so many occasions that victims welcome the Media
2/ Reporters themselves have a dilemma. The phrase “we are only doing our job” is often used to justify the worst excesses. I have found that journalists are aware of these worst excesses and many abhor the harder style of journalism whilst being unable to do anything about it. As more than one journalist told me we have to respond to the worst excesses of our colleagues.
3/ The necessity for getting the story can at times by necessity outweigh any feelings of dislike for the jobs that the journalists are doing.
4/ A professional journalist will behave in a responsible and caring way.
5/ Victims who co-operate fully or in some way with the Media come off best and achieve their aims.
6/ Many victims think about the Media and their response at a very early time.
7/ There are undoubtedly some reporters who have no qualms about using victims whilst at their lowest ebb.
8/ Reporters are like human beings in that some have feelings and get closely involved with the victims whilst others do not get involved at all.
9/ There is a distinct difference in attitude between national and local journalists.
These thoughts may seem to be rather haphazard and random and I have deliberately not put them in any order. They pose as many questions as they provide answers. They do illustrate, however, that my though processes and indeed my research into this fascinating subject is and will continue to be ongoing.
The relationship between the Media and vistims of crime can never be purely black and white. There are many shades of grey.
I hope, however, that my research will, in some small way, help to
build up an understanding between the Media, victims of crime and the