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    Justifiable sensationalism

    Laite, Julia (2014) Justifiable sensationalism. Media History 20 (2), pp. 126-145. ISSN 1368-8804.

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    While prostitution had been a staple of sensational reporting for decades, the explosion of newspaper exposés about vice in London in the late 1940s and the early 1950s is difficult to miss. Taking this sexual sensationalism as its starting point, this article examines the relationship between the press, public opinion and policy change around the subject of prostitution, paying particular attention to the rise in media attention in the mid-twentieth century that is understood to have helped bring the Wolfenden Committee into being in 1954. It argues that while sexual sensationalism can be read as a kind of moral panic and as a tool of moral regulation, looking closely at the narratives and function of sensationalism, as well as its reception by the police, the State and the public, complicates this story. To understand the political impacts of sensational media, we need to look at the conflicts as much as the consensus within the ‘public sphere’, criminal justice and politics. In the formation of policies about commercial sex, public confusion was as important as public opinion and conflict was as central as consensus.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Sensationalism, moral panic, prostitution, police, public opinion, newspapers
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2018 14:50
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:39


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