This study analyses the influential relationship between the media campaign and policy formulation. The study focuses upon the News of the World campaigns, launched following the death of Sarah Payne by convicted sex offender, Roy Whiting. The study employs qualitative documentary analysis; analysing the media articles of the campaign, and subsequent parliamentary debates. Data was analysed via a reflective coding process, where each document was scrutinised with detail, drawing out key themes and concepts within. The results identified key mechanisms within the media campaign, illustrating the ways in which a media campaign can shape the understanding of its readers; carefully selecting information, specifically targeting audiences, and priming their reaction. Findings also demonstrate the progression in the social construction and presentation of the paedophile, and the impact this had upon public reaction to the campaign. Although these results are not generalisable to all media campaigns due to the specific focus of the study, it does however, provide illumination in to the media attitude to sex offenders, and how this is used in a campaign to formulate public policy and legislative change.
Download the document below to view the full dissertation.