Professor Sara Beale discusses news media's influence on criminal justice policy

March 30, 2007Duke Law News

Charles L.B. Lowndes Professor of Law Sara Sun Beale will discuss how a market driven news media influences criminal justice policy on April 4. Sponsored by the American Constitution Society, her talk will begin at 12:15 p.m. in room 4047 of Duke Law School. Dessert will be provided.

In a recent paper entitled “The News Media’s Influence on Criminal Justice Policy: How Market Driven News Promotes Punitiveness,” published in the William & Mary Law Review (Vol. 48), Beale argues that commercial pressures are determining the media’s treatment of crime and violence; crime stories are perceived as a cost-effective means to grab viewers’ and readers’ attention – and make clear links between race and crime – even when crime rates are down. This focus on crime can skew public opinion, she writes, increasing support for punitive policies including longer and mandatory minimum sentences and treating juveniles as adults, and even making attitudes towards crime and punishment a more important criteria in assessing political leaders.

For more information, contact Frances Presma at (919) 613-7248 or