SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 4.1: Cui, X., & Rothenbuhler, E. (2018). Communicating terror: Mediatization and ritualization. Television & New Media, 19(2), 155-162.

Abstract: In this essay, we explicate the internal logic of contemporary terrorist acts and our society’s responses, to denaturalize the label and meanings we give to “terrorism.” We argue that contemporary terrorism communicates intimidation, fear, and anxiety through the ritualization and mediatization of terrorist attacks. Mediatization refers to the strategic coercion of imperative media coverage of the attacks, and ritualization refers to the focus on sacred life structures in both terrorist attacks and remedial responses. In combining ritualization and mediatization, terrorism aims to introduce maximal chaos through unexpected disruption of the sacred and taken-for-granted in everyday life in the community of the attack and wherever media coverage can reach. The fear and anxiety induced by disrupted life rhythms, including normal media flows, and the compelling footage of the disruption lead to ritualized reactions which both restore and transform the social order beyond the moment of the attack.


Journal Article 4.2: Hervik, P. (2018). Ten years after the Danish Muhammad cartoon news stories: Terror and radicalization as predictable media events. Television & New Media, 19(2), 146-154.

Abstract: In the tenth year after Danish daily Jyllands-Posten published twelve cartoons, the Muhammad Cartoons, this media event—and the hegemonic understanding behind it—continues to be a discursive reference point for new controversies around national borders and racial boundaries. Then, since late 2010, radicalization as a “pre-terrorist” phase has become the lens through which the category “Muslims” has been represented in much media coverage. In this article, I argue that the dominant hegemonic understanding in Denmark that is based on a certain spatial–racial logic is not a passive production of knowledge. It keeps informing news coverage of media events as terror and thereby risking describing the hegemony more than adequately understanding the events at hand.


Journal Article 4.3: Vergani, M., & Bliuc, A. (2018). The language of new terrorism: Differences in psychological dimensions of communication in Dabiq and Inspire. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 1-18.

Abstract: We investigate differences in the psychological aspects underpinning Western mobilisation of two terrorist groups by analysing their English-language propaganda. Based on a computerised analysis of the language used in two English-language online magazines circulated by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Qaeda (i.e., Dabiq and Inspire), we found significant differences in their language—the ISIS’ language being higher in authoritarianism and its level of religiousness. In a follow-up experimental study, we found that being high in religiousness and authoritarianism predicts more positive attitudes towards the language used by ISIS, but not towards the language used by al-Qaeda. The results suggest that ISIS’ propaganda may be more effective in mobilising individuals who are more authoritarian and more focused on religion than that of al-Qaeda. These findings are consistent with the behaviour observed in recent homegrown terrorist attacks in the United States and Europe.


Journal Article 4.4: Price, S. (2018). The event of terrorism: Ambiguous categories and public spectacle. Television & New Media, 19(2), 163-169.

Abstract: This article examines the ways in which executive authority and media organizations categorize the spectacle of public violence and disaster, with particular reference to an event (the Germanwings crash in 2015) where large-scale fatalities were purposely caused. On occasions when a perpetrator commits multiple killings (acting impersonally but with “malice aforethought,” and usually against civilian victims), the immediate question appears to be whether or not the incident should be classified as a terrorist attack. This is especially the case during periods when mass or individual assaults are prominent in the public domain. The article examines the problems inherent in the uses of unstable or contested linguistic definitions, which typify the family of terms that include both the act of terrorizing individuals, groups, and wider polities, and the supposedly political practice known as terrorism.

Additional Articles

  • Aday, S., Livingston, S., & Hebert, M. (2005, Winter). Embedding the truth: A cross-cultural analysis of objectivity and television coverage of the Iraq war. The Harvard Journal of Press/Politics, 10(1), 3-21.

  • Fried, A. (2005, Summer). Terrorism as a context of coverage before the Iraq war. The Harvard Journal of Press/Politics, 10(3), 125-132.

  • Griffin, M. (2004). Picturing America’s ‘War on Terrorism’ in Afghanistan and Iraq: Photographing motifs as news frames. Journalism, 5(4), 381-402.

  • Harris, S. K. (2014). Networked erasure: Visualizing information censorship in Turkey. Convergence, 20(3).

  • Lee, C-.C., Li, H., & Lee, F. L. F. (2011, July). Symbolic use of decisive events: Tiananmen as a news icon in the editorials of the elite U.S. press. International Journal of Press/Politics, 16(3), 335-356.

  • Louw, P. E. (2003). The ‘War Against Terrorism’: A public relations challenge for the pentagon. Gazette: The International Journal for Communications Studies, 65(3), 211-230.

  • Möller, F. (2007). Photographic interventions in post-9/11 security policy. Security Dialogue, 38(2), 179-196.

  • Morgensen, K. (2008, April). Television journalism during terror attacks. Media, War & Conflict, 1(1), 31-49.

  • Mythen, G., & Walklate, S. (2006). Communicating the terrorist risk: Harnessing a culture of fear?” Crime, Media, Culture, 2(2), 123-142.

  • Sancho, G. R. (2014). Networks, insurgencies, and prefigurative politics: A cycle of global indignation. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 20(3).

  • Slone, M. (2000, August). Responses to media coverage of terrorism. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 44(4), 508-522.

  • Taylor, P. M. (2008, April). Can the information war on terror be won? A polemical essay. Media, War & Conflict, 1(1), 118-124.

  • Wolfsfeld, G., Frosh, P., & Awabdy, M. T. (2008, May). Covering death in conflicts: Coverage of the second intifada on Israeli and Palestinian television. Journal of Peace Research, 45(3), 401-417.

  • Woods, J. (2007, Summer). What we talk about when we talk about terrorism: Elite press coverage of terrorism risk from 1997 to 2005. The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, 12(3), 3-20.