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News-Media and Terrorism: Changing Relationship, Changing Definitions



This article discusses two aspects that are important for understanding the relationship between Western news media and terrorism: the changing representation of terrorists and terrorist attacks in the media and, with it, the changing definition of terrorism. By calling attention to evolving news media practices in times of terrorism, I argue that advanced communication technologies and the emergence of global media ecology since the 1990s has made terrorism more visible in both national and international media landscapes. One result is that the more the news media expose terrorism to global audiences via the “front door,” the more controversial the use of the terms “terrorism” and “terrorist” become in social, political, and scholarly discourses. The paper addresses the evolving journalistic practices and their consequences as documented in previous studies on media reporting of terrorism in several national contexts, mostly the UK, the United States, and Israel.