“Jack the Ripper” is the popular name given to a serial killer who killed a number of prostitutes in the East End of London in 1888. During this period of three months where 5 prostitutes were killed; each one had their throats cut then they were mutilated. The main reason this case has become famous is because it was the first widely broadcasted murdered with a gruesome act to killing the victims. The name originates from a letter written by someone who claimed to be the killer published at the time of the murders.
The killings took place within a mile area and involved the district of Whitechapel. He was also called the Whitechapel Murderer and “Leather Apron. ” Through out this text I will be explaining ‘Did the media sensationalized the ripper murders purely for public appeal’. The media during the1800’s was important but did not have quite the immediate impact that it has today. While there were newspapers at the time, most of the papers arrived in the outlying states and territories far too late to effect a change in government policy or public opinion.
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The Ripper murders mark an important division in the treatment of crime by journalists. While not the first serial killer, the Jack the Ripper’s case was the first to create a worldwide media frenzy. Tax reforms in the 1850s had enabled the publication of inexpensive newspapers with wider circulation. (L. Perry, Jr. – 2001) These flourished later in the Victorian era to include mass-circulation of newspapers as cheap and inexpensive everyday products, along with the Illustrated Police News, which made the Ripper the recipient of previously matchless publicity.
The media was originally built to tell the facts and the stories, the west end demographic was educated and comprehensive, meaning they could read write and understand what the papers were writing about. When the Whitechapel murders took place the media jumped on it and was reporting the truth but as the sales went up, the newspaper companies saw the money they could make out of a thrilling and untruthful story.
As the murders gradually increased and the crimes were getting worse it was the media and public storm that linked all the White Chapel murders together and blamed them on a fictional character; by the name of ‘Jake The Ripper’ who was conjured up by a fake letter sent to the police, that read; “Dear Boss,? I keep on hearing the police have caught me but they wont fix me just yet. I have laughed when they look so clever and talk about being on the right track. That joke about Leather Apron gave me real fits. I am down on whores and I shant quit ripping them till I do get buckled.
Grand work the last job was. I gave the lady no time to squeal. How can they catch me now. I love my work and want to start again. You will soon hear of me with my funny little games. I saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle over the last job to write with but it went thick like glue and I cant use it. Red ink is fit enough I hope ha. ha. The next job I do I shall clip the ladys ears off and send to the police officers just for jolly wouldn’t you. Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work, then give it out straight.
My knife’s so nice and sharp I want to get to work right away if I get a chance. Good Luck. Yours truly? Jack the Ripper Dont mind me giving the trade name PS Wasnt good enough to post this before I got all the red ink off my hands curse it No luck yet. They say I’m a doctor now. ha ha (S. P. Evans 2009) The “Jack the Ripper” murders did indeed take place between August and November 1888. The Ripper did exist, though over the years a great deal of myth and legend has grown up around the basic facts of the case.
These myths have been disseminated in books and movies for over a century now, to the point where they have all but enclosed the brutal reality of the original crimes. “We know, inside, that there is a major class-component to these crimes. We feel it in our guts, but we can’t put our finger on it. So we look for identifiable persons and individuals that we can blame. ” (Robert D. Kepper 2003-03-13 17:49:34) This quote tells us the media and the police played the blame game, there was to large extent bias, wich did inevitably cause the media storm that occurred.
There have been many aspects up for criticism since the media storm of Jack the Ripper in 1888, the main dissatisfactions of the media has been it’s exploitation of confidential files, evidence and witness statements, this was the main cause of this mock up/story becoming such an international block buster in terms of media exposure. Jack the Ripper started off as a malicious insane murderer and was turned into a sensationalized criminal and that was exactly what the media has been condemned for, “The unpredicted media coverage has most definitely resulted in the murderer not being named and the mass speculation ontributed as well” (Trevor Marriott, 17/10/2011) Jack the Ripper has remained popular for a lot of reasons. He was not the first serial killer, but he was probably the first to be broadcast throughout England through newspapers and other communication, During this time the press was a force for social change, the newly invited printing press allowed for huge distribution of printed news. Every day the activities of the Ripper were reported in the newspapers, as were the results of the studies and the actions taken by the police.
Even the feelings of the people living in the East End, these reports appeared each day for both the people of London and the whole world to read. It was the press coverage that made this series of murders a “new thing”, something that the world had never known before. The press was also partly responsible for creating many myths surrounding the Ripper and ended up turning a sad killer of women into a “feared unknown man”, who has now become one of the most talked about murderer’s in history.