Event Title

Media Feeds Off the Morbid: Jack the Ripper in the News

Location

Diamond 344

Start Date

30-4-2015 2:40 PM

End Date

30-4-2015 2:55 PM

Project Type

Presentation

Description

Jack the Ripper, a shadowy figure who still instills fear in the hearts of many, was active in the late 1880s in the East End of London. The true character of this uber-famous serial killer remains a mystery today though many theories have since been proposed surrounding his identity. His title was a name created by the media as a reference point but more significantly as another fear inducing aspect. The majority believes his murders definitively included five women, though many others, who were killed around the same time, are also debatably his handiwork. Jack the Rippers fame has become something of a phenomenon since the 1880s. While he was still at large, the news outlets capitalized on the fear he induced and allowed little reliance on factual evidence to penetrate their stories. The media even went so far as to publish letters written by editors under the name of the killer in order to further sensationalize these gruesome murders. The interaction between the morbid and the media has always been criticized but few cases offer as quintessential of an example as does that of Jack the Ripper. The interaction between the Ripper, the police, and the news outlets is as much of a source of mystery as is the Rippers identity. The media, recognizing the fear-inducing capabilities of a murderer, took the opportunity to speak for the mystery character. Many false letters purportedly written by Jack himself turned up in 1888 and for the century afterwards. Though three gained fame for being possibly genuine, one of these three was later found to be written solely in order to sell newspapers.

Faculty Sponsor

Larissa Taylor

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. History Dept.

CLAS Field of Study

Social Sciences

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

1757

Share

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Apr 30th, 2:40 PM Apr 30th, 2:55 PM

Media Feeds Off the Morbid: Jack the Ripper in the News

Diamond 344

Jack the Ripper, a shadowy figure who still instills fear in the hearts of many, was active in the late 1880s in the East End of London. The true character of this uber-famous serial killer remains a mystery today though many theories have since been proposed surrounding his identity. His title was a name created by the media as a reference point but more significantly as another fear inducing aspect. The majority believes his murders definitively included five women, though many others, who were killed around the same time, are also debatably his handiwork. Jack the Rippers fame has become something of a phenomenon since the 1880s. While he was still at large, the news outlets capitalized on the fear he induced and allowed little reliance on factual evidence to penetrate their stories. The media even went so far as to publish letters written by editors under the name of the killer in order to further sensationalize these gruesome murders. The interaction between the morbid and the media has always been criticized but few cases offer as quintessential of an example as does that of Jack the Ripper. The interaction between the Ripper, the police, and the news outlets is as much of a source of mystery as is the Rippers identity. The media, recognizing the fear-inducing capabilities of a murderer, took the opportunity to speak for the mystery character. Many false letters purportedly written by Jack himself turned up in 1888 and for the century afterwards. Though three gained fame for being possibly genuine, one of these three was later found to be written solely in order to sell newspapers.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2015/program/331