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Title: Terrorism on the news : editorial decision-making in British TV news coverage of terrorist attacks, post-9/11
Author: Iqbal, Muhammad Zubair
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2012
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There has been a long-standing debate among scholars, policy-makers, politicians and journalists about the relationship between terrorism and the news media for whom terrorism is usually a newsworthy story. This thesis explores this relationship through a qualitative, thematic analysis of how British TV news covered major terrorist events after the attacks on America on September 11, 2001. It examines the interpretive themes that are selected, prioritized and developed in each of three case studies - coverage of the terrorist attacks on Madrid, 2004; London, 2005 and Mumbai, 2008. It considers the kind of political and organizational factors that might shape or modify the editorial decision-making processes and ideological assumptions that may lie behind such coverage. To this end the research is informed by original interviews by the author with experienced TV journalists and news editors from BBC and ITV News. Ultimately, the thesis maintains that British TV news outlets, though playing an important role in mediating terrorist messages, do not focus primarily on images of terror and violence, particularly if the event occurs on British soil. While there are key differences between public and commercial TV news in the style and presentation of coverage, with the former being more careful in approach, British TV news concentrates on two major themes in the broader narrative: speculation about possible suspects and a consideration of national and international response. Additionally, while most of the coverage is framed in a western-oriented 'war on Terror' framework, domestic contexts also shape coverage in some very explicit ways. The thesis concludes by considering the implications of these findings for professional, editorial codes and practices as they apply in the UK context; and also what lessons other national broadcasters might learn from them.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available