Criminals in the media
Students examine the way criminals are presented, both in the media and in broader culture through detailed image study.
- Process and synthesise information from a range of sources for use as evidence in an historical argument (ACHHS170) (ACHHS188)
- Identify and analyse the perspectives of people from the past (ACHHS172) (ACHHS190)
Primary sources on ergo:
- The Kelly's visit to the police station, NSW
- The Kelly trial: the scene in court
- Last scene of the Kelly drama: the criminal on the scaffold
- Tast Ful Old Criminal
Look at the images detailed above in small groups or as individuals using an image study template. Students should explore the content and context of these images. Use questions like those below to guide discussion.
- Who has heard of Ned Kelly?
- What do you know about him and where did you hear it?
- Where and when was the image published?
- How is Ned portrayed in these images?
- Does he seem like a hero or a criminal? How can you tell? Look at poses, positioning to give you a clue.
- Why did news outlets publish so much Ned Kelly news at the time?
- Do media representations of criminals affect how we feel about them?
- Does the nature of the crimes committed affect how criminals are presented in the media?
Chopper Read and others
In the case of Chopper Read, think about how he presents himself in the media. Has Chopper successfully recreated himself as a celebrity?
More to explore
Take these studies beyond ergo to examine media portrayals of other criminals, either modern or historical.
Discuss the current cultural fascination with criminals, as seen in shows like Underbelly. Is this a new phenomenon?