Every Picture Speaks a Thousand Words: Visualizing Judicial Authority in the Press

  • Leslie J Moran
Part of the Palgrave Macmillan Socio-Legal Studies book series (PSLS)


Domestic policy debates in the UK have noted that mass media, and visual media in particular, play an important role in generating experiences and understandings about the courts and the justice system more generally (Hough and Roberts, 2004; Falconer, 2005; Moorhead et al., 2008; Stepniak, 2008; Lambert 2011). News and more factual reports delivered by way of print and screen technologies have been identified as a particularly important source of popular information (Page et al., 2004, p. 7).1 UK research on the interface between the news media and the justice system has been preoccupied with representations of crime, the depiction of perpetrators of crime and police image-making and image management activities (Cohen and Young, 1973; Chibnall, 1977; Schlesinger and Tumber, 1994; Mawby, 2002; Leishman and Mason, 2003). Studies of the depiction of the judiciary are most notable by their absence. This is a surprising omission. As Papke notes (2007), in common law legal systems the judge is a key figure in the justice system being a decision-maker who symbolizes and embodies some of its fundamental values and virtues such as impartiality, rule-based and substantive justice and legitimate authority. As few members of the public experience or learn about the judiciary from direct observation (Mulcahy, 2011, ch. 5), mass media potentially plays an important role in shaping perceptions and understandings of the judiciary and the justice system more generally. My particular research interest is visual images of the judiciary. In this chapter, the objective is to embark upon a preliminary exploration of visual images of the judiciary used in news reports in the press.


Justice System Visual Image News Story News Report Photographic Image 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Leslie J Moran 2012

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  • Leslie J Moran

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