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Discourse of Fear in Local Crime News


The use of news as a resource aids in the setting of an emotional tone to the rhythm of life and reminds us of the ideals of order and disorder that threaten the cosmology of quiet regions and everyday order. On the other hand, news stories as a topic offer insight into the relationship between organizational framework prerequisites for maintaining reality and the description of the larger social situation and behavioral possibilities.

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Fear is widespread in public discourse, which can lead to positions and reactive social policies that encourage state control and oversight. Fear is an important part of establishing a risk society based on communication for risk monitoring, management, and prevention (Altheide, 2018). It is possible to detect numerous frames thanks to communication and media types. Studies of media forms and formats have supplemented findings from media content studies while also providing a conceptual underpinning for media agents’ behaviors.

This technique simply questions how events and concerns are packaged and presented to audience members who may perceive the messages in a variety of ways in order to elucidate the process by which media messages of violence and fear are disseminated. The discourse of fear, which highlights the problem frame, is the major frame in crime news. Frame, theme, and discourse are also connected to communication formats, which pertain to the selection, arrangement, and presentation of information in the case of mass media. The fundamental organization and assumptions of time, location, and mode of experience are referred to as formats.

The issue of framing is a major innovation that justifies the value of news entertainment. The mass media, especially the news industry, contributed to the formation of a highly streamlined problem framework, which produced fear reports (Altheide, 2018). A long-term alternative to moral games. It is a problem framework characterized by narrative structure, universal moral values, specific times and places, and a clear and culturally resonating focus on clutter.

The framework in question combines the universal and non-situational logic and moral value of moral games with the temporal and spatial limitations of news reports-something to the real person in the real place. Unlike moral works, which are abstractions where players are facing death and fall, news articles focus on real people and events, making the story feel more authentic. Repeated presentations of comparable scenarios teach the audience the causes of the disorder, symbolically searching for complex concerns and events about the moral truth and understanding that the audience should have.

Crime coverage has been an integral part of the media for decades. Newspapers have long emphasized the spectacular and even sexual aspects of murder, brutal assault, sex crimes, and kidnapping. Anxiety is the most basic element of enjoying popular culture. The discourse of fear arose from this focus: widespread communication, symbolic knowledge, and the expectation that risk and danger are part of normal life (Gałuszka, 2019). Fearful discourse has had a major impact on social policy, public awareness of social issues, loss of public space, increased civilian armament and armament, and the promotion of new social identities and victims.

Fear is generated by media insistence on crime news and genres, exaggerated emphasis on the danger of crime, and sensational coverage of epic crime. Television and news are regarded as tools of general social order that reproduce hegemonic values and stereotypes and distort the reality of criminal issues-here the audience is authoritarian that they need to accept. It is built as a passive recipient of ideological consensus messages. The main reason crime is encouraged in the news is that it is related to the horror that is characteristic of the entertainment genre. Second, reporting crimes is relatively easy and fits well with local television time and staff constraints.

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Another important aspect of the problem frame is emphasizing place. The location category is decisive for building self-identity. We have a strong sense of place because the way we explain and interpret our position in the world depends heavily on our sense of being somewhere, not just someone. A place is a space with felt value, an emotional space, or an emotional space. It acts as a physical situation, as a physical context of everyday life, but it also has imagination and subjectivity.

It examines the role of the news media in establishing public discourse based on fear. The conceptual model is presented based on the communication format and the current development of frames. The focus is on the influence of media formats and frames on the selection and presentation of fear-based reports. The news media uses a format- and entertainment-friendly framework of problems as a secular equivalent of moral work. This encourages horrifying news. The framework in question is seen as an important aspect of the process of disseminating fear and danger information.

As an example, I have chosen two articles from the Cleveland, Ohio, news website, which is called The first article, ‘Cocaine-snorting grandma with vodka in the car arrested for drunk driving: Broadview Heights Police Blotter (Benson, 2021a), addresses the crime incident related to the car accident in Ohio. If to analyze the discourse of the article, first, it is important to notice that the main character of the story is an old woman, which makes the story unusual and catchy.

These are one of the main criteria for crime news. Next, the writer emphasizes several bad sides of the main character at once already in the title, saying that the grandma was snorting cocaine, had driven drunk, and as a consequence, was arrested by the police. In the US, the theme of the drug has become part of the discourse of fear (Orsini, 2017). The fact that such an unsuspecting individual is able to commit the crime creates feelings of fear.

The second example is taken from the same platform and is called ‘Warrensville woman steals ex-boyfriend’s car from the parking lot: Brecksville Police Blotter (Benson, 2021b). Again, the article creates fear and anxiety by emphasizing the conditions under which the crime was committed. For instance, the woman had stolen a car right from the parking lot. This fact might evoke the idea that there is not enough security and safety in the parking lots of the particular city.


In conclusion, fear is used as one of the formats of the crime news discourse. It allows the writer to entertain the reader and keep them interested. According to the framework, the feeling of fear affects the reader’s emotional state, their possible behavior, and the interpretation of reality by the audience. Such a way to deliver a piece of information is popular today among many newspapers and advertising companies.


Altheide, D. L. (2018). Creating fear: News and the construction of crisis. Routledge. Web.

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Benson, J. 2021a. Cocaine-snorting grandma with vodka in the car arrested for drunk driving: Broadview heights police blotter. Cleveland. Web.

Benson, J. 2021b. Warrensville woman steals ex-boyfriend’s car from parking lot: Brecksville police blotter. Cleveland. Web.

Gałuszka, K. (2019). The discourse of fear in the mass media: A comparison of articles from liberal and conservative British and American online newspapers. Jagiellonian University Repository. Web.

Orsini, M. M. (2017). Frame analysis of drug narratives in network news coverage. Contemporary drug problems, 44(3), 189-211. Web.

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