Public talk examines the impact of crime-related media content

Posted: October 22, 2015 6:00 a.m.

Dr. Sarah Britto will focus on stories about crime on prime-time TV shows.
Dr. Sarah Britto will focus on stories about crime on prime-time TV shows. Photo courtesy of Dr. Sarah Britto.

The first installment of this year’s Open Minds discussion series kicks off on Thursday, October 22, with a look at the portrayal of crime in the media. Dr. Sarah Britto, associate professor in the Department of Justice Studies, will present “Justice in Prime Time: Media and Crime Related Public Perceptions.”  

“Some of what we understand about crime, offenders and victims comes from the media – including the entertainment side of the media,” says Britto. “It is important to critically examine these portrayals. Prime-time crime contrasts starkly with the reality of crime in our society, and crime-related perceptions informed by these images risk similar distortion.”

Britto asks, how do we resolve our love/hate relationship with crime-related media content? Her talk will aim to unpack the portrayal of crime in the media, with a particular focus on prime-time television, and explore how it shapes public perceptions about crime.

Britto has done extensive research into understanding crime-related public perceptions. She is the author of several articles on the subject, including: “Does Special Mean Young, White and Female? Deconstructing the Meaning of ‘Special’ in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Television and the Fear Crime: Program Types, Audience Traits and the Mediating Effect of Perceived Neighbourhood Racial Composition.”

The Faculty of Arts’ Open Minds discussion series brings University of Regina professors and members of the community together to engage in discussion of timely and often controversial topics. The series aims to facilitate lively dialogue on issues of relevance to the Regina community and all are welcome to come and share their thoughts.

“Justice in Prime Time: Media and Crime Related Public Perceptions” will take place on Thursday, October 22 at 7:00 p.m. in Room 106 of the College Building at the College Avenue Campus. This is a free event and free parking will be available in lot 20M.