This article discusses the role of the media in deliberative systems, focusing on the relationship between the news media and the formal arena that is the Brazilian National Congress. We investigate the different ways in which the news media are appropriated by politicians, experts and ordinary citizens in public hearings. We focus on a case study of public hearings on the reduction of the age of criminal responsibility in Brazil, a controversial issue that has given rise to discussions in different arenas — including such formal ones as the National Congress and such informal ones as social networks and the news media. Our data come from transcripts of public hearings organized by the Brazilian Senate and broadcast on the Senate website and news articles on the issue of criminal responsibility and violence committed by adolescents published during the period of the deliberations. Our findings suggest that people use media materials for different purposes in debates, sometimes to support their own arguments, sometimes to delegitimize alternative opinions. Thus, our results support the idea that the media can function as a connector between different arenas in a deliberative system.