Hall, Christopher, Sarangi, Srikant and Slembrouk, Stef (1997) Narrative transformation in child abuse reporting. Child Abuse Review, 6 (4). pp. 272-282. ISSN 0952-9136

This paper examines how a case of child abuse is turned into political news. It raises the following questions: (i) which moments in the chain of events concerning child abuse are selected for coverage by the media; (ii) what is the nature of the transformation of institutional events into a particular type of covered event; and (iii) what is the dynamics of struggle over definitions of reality and the projection of certain causal links. We compare how the trade press and the national press report child abuse by concentrating on three different cycles of a particular case, Stephanie Fox (cycle 1: discovery of Stephanie's death; cycle 2: the conviction of Stephen Fox; and cycle 3: the inquiry report). Our primary focus is on the narrative transformation of the storyline as different voices and discourses are recruited to substantiate different agendas. We show how different rhetorical strategies are deployed to account for the facts of the case, while linking this up with the current situation of the reader of such media reports.

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