Criminal Justice and Journalism

Coverage of crime and the court system dominates local news in all forms of media and makes up a significant portion of national news in the United States. There is even a cable news network, Court TV, devoted to coverage of major trials. For many Americans, mass-mediated forms of information, either through fiction shows or the news, are the main source of information about crime and the courts.

Because the right of a free press under the First Amendment and right to a fair trial under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution are often in direct conflict, a balance is constantly negotiated to ensure protection of both of these rights to the best extent possible. This entry first discusses how news coverage can influence perceptions ...

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