The SAGE Key Concepts series provide students with accessible and authoritative knowledge of the essential topics in a variety of disciplines. Cross-referenced throughout, the format encourages critical evaluation through understanding. Written by experienced and respected academics, the books are indispensable study aids and guides to comprehension. Key Concepts in Journalism offers a systematic and accessible introduction to the terms, processes, and effects of journalism;a combination of practical considerations with theoretical issues; and further reading suggestions. The authors bring an enormous range of experience in newspaper and broadcast journalism, at national and regional level, as well as their teaching expertise. This book will be essential reading for students in journalism, and an invaluable reference tool for their professional careers.

Moral Panic
Moral panic

A concept first used by Cohen (1973) to describe orchestrated and mass mediated public campaigns aimed at generating fear of visibly identified ‘folk devils’. Moral panics are directed at bringing about changes in law, policy or current practices (which are represented as being lax or too lenient) in order to protect the public from the identified threat. However, we should be careful not to suggest that a moral panic is an actual ‘thing’. Rather, as Critcher (2003: 2) suggests, a moral panic is ‘a model of a process’ displaying several key characteristics. These characteristics do not necessarily manifest themselves sequentially as moral panics tend to have a ‘circular and amplifying’ structure rather than a linear development (Cohen, 1973: 24). Nevertheless, six processes can ...

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