Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Criminal Justice



First Advisor or Mentor

David Green

Second Reader

Barry Spunt


Wrongful convictions are a major issue hindering the effectiveness and legitimacy of the criminal justice system. The topic has become a focus of media attention. Among the issues raised are the contributing factors to wrongful convictions, such as false confessions, false or misleading forensic evidence, official misconduct, mistaken witness identification, and perjury or false accusations. The following study examines how media frames these contributing factors of wrongful convictions using Loseke's social constructionist framework, which is useful for deconstructing the issue’s diagnostic, motivational and prognostic frames -- that is, how media consumers assess the causes, solutions, and the reasons to act to address the given social problem. Media framing is one of the most influential perspectives in the area of media criminology. In short, through framing, the media can shift public perceptions of the social problem of wrongful conviction by emphasizing some aspects at the expense of others. Therefore, the study will analyze New York Times articles to identify whether the media's framing of the contributing factors of wrongful convictions is proportionate to the official data collected by the National Registry of Exonerations, a project founded by the University of California and University of Michigan to provide detailed information about every known exoneration in the United States since 1989.



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