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‘A victim, and that’s all’: the construction of Meredith Kercher in the British national newspapers

Goulandris, A. and McLaughlin, E. ORCID: 0000-0003-4003-3272 (2019). ‘A victim, and that’s all’: the construction of Meredith Kercher in the British national newspapers. Feminist Media Studies, doi: 10.1080/14680777.2019.1690018

Abstract

What journalistic techniques are employed to construct a newsworthy female murder victim in the age of social media? Focusing on Meredith Kercher’s murder, this article examines how Kercher’s victim persona was fashioned by the British national press before the arrests of Amanda Knox and two others. Contrary to prevailing perspectives, we argue that the newsworthy murder victim is not necessarily an ideal victim. Murder victim status in a news story is a multi-facetted construction, contingent on whatever will magnify newsworthiness. The Kercher case is the first example of British journalists using the murder victim’s Facebook content as the primary news resource, adding “authenticity” to the text and images used, since it originated from the victim herself. The research findings illustrate how Kercher was sexualized through the application of misogynist victim-blaming templates used in the reporting of sex crimes. It was the degradation of her ideal victim status that drove the initial newsworthiness of the murder story.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Feminist Media Studies on 12 Dec 2019, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14680777.2019.1690018
Publisher Keywords: Facebook, ideal victim, Meredith Kercher, status degradation, victim blaming
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/23366
[img] Text - Accepted Version
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