The purpose of this thesis is to explore the relationship between serial killing and the American media. The research first discusses the different ways serial killers are represented in popular culture through outlets such as television, books, and movies. These representations are inconsistent, sometimes glorifying the actions of serial killers as if they were superheroes, and sometimes treating the offenders as inhuman monsters. This has the power to confuse how society views the morality of serial killing, and desensitizes the public to the full implications of murder. The second section discusses how the media reports and treats violent crime, specifically murder, and how these reports compare with actual crime statistics. The disparity between crime data and news reports can greatly affect public perceptions of crime, and possibly create unnecessary fear or unrest. Finally, the research discusses the crimes of three notorious male serial killers and the celebrity status they obtained through the media. Implications of this celebrity status are researched and the possible effects on society are discussed.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 2015


Terry C. Cox

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Justice Studies

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Justice Studies