Annotate one qualitative research article from a peer-reviewed journal
Provide the reference list entry for this article in APA Style followed by a three-paragraph annotation that includes:

A summary
An analysis
An application as illustrated in this example

Format your annotation in Times New Roman, 12-point font, double-spaced. A separate References list page is not needed for this assignment.Annotate the article I attached and please follow the instructions above exactly.

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Terrorism in the Backyard: Coverage of
London Attacks, 2005 by the British TV News
Muhammad Zubair Iqbal
The media-terrorism nexus needs further exploration. This article is a qualitative analysis of the coverage of London Attacks, 2005 by the British TV news
channels. It aims to investigate and to empirically ascertain the veracity of the
media-terrorism-symbiotic-relationship notion. The research draws a comparison with a similar study of the coverage of Mumbai attacks, 2008 and
maintains that when the terrorist event happens on British soil, the symbiotic
relationship theory is not verified completely. It concludes that British TV news
channels, while reporting the home event of terrorism, do not overly focus on
the theme of awe and terror. Instead, they are more responsible, careful, and
nationalistic while covering the events of terrorism.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 changed the way people looked at
terrorism: its manifestations, presentations, and far reaching impacts. The study of
coverage of terrorism by the media is by no means an exception. The putative
relationship between terrorism and the media has always received attention in
academic circles; also, investigations into this topic have made some leaps in the
last decade. Now “the problem does not lie in why the media covers [sic] terrorism
but lies in how the media covers [sic] terrorism (original emphasis)” (Vasterman,
Yzermans, & Dirkzwager, 2005, p. 108).
The Media-Terrorism Symbiosis
An important segment of these investigations suggests that there exists a symbiotic
relationship between the media and terrorism. Symbiosis, according to the Oxford
Learner’s dictionary, “is a relationship between people, companies, etc. that is to the
Muhammad Zubair Iqbal (Ph.D., University of Ulster, UK) is an associate professor at Bahria University
Islamabad. His research interests include terrorism, international conflicts, and the media.
© 2017 Broadcast Education Association
Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 61(2), 2017, pp. 449–466
ISSN: 0883-8151 print/1550-6878 online
450 Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media/June 2017
advantage of both.” Hoffman (2006, p. 132) explains symbiosis in terms of the media
coverage of terrorist attacks. For him “without the media’s coverage, the act’s impact
is arguably wasted, remaining narrowly confined to the immediate victim(s) of the
attack, rather than reaching the wider target audience at whom the terrorists’ violence is actually aimed.” According to Rohner and Frey (2007, p. 2) the “recent
history … has provided plenty of examples of the mutually beneficial relationship
between terrorist organizations and the media.”
Broadly speaking, the symbiotic relationship phenomenon has two sides. For
Tuman (2010) the media are “naturally drawn to stories that suggest conflict and
the potential for what is shocking and sensational” (p. 196) with an inherent quest for
increased audiences. For Lewis and Green (2007) “violence is a central and defining
quality in contemporary television culture and is critical to the semiotic and financial
momentum of contemporary media organisations.” On the other hand, terrorists
achieve mass proliferation of their messages through extensive and prolonged
media coverage, as terrorism has to be [mass] communicated to have effect (Seib
& Janbek, 2011). By implication, when there is a terrorist event, the media will
provide robust coverage for longer hours.
However, this may not be true at all occasions and places. Despite the foregoing,
we cannot safely say that there exists a symbiotic relationship in all cases of coverage
of terrorism by the media. According to Livingstone (2012, p. 417) “it is no longer
plausible to study one phenomenon in one country without asking, at a minimum,
whether it is common across the globe or distinctive to that country or part of the
world.” In any case, the presence of certain distinct features of the coverage of an
event cannot be ignored, which are dependent on the nature of a media organization, its cultural and regulatory environment, its bureaucratic structure, and the
prevalent political situation, nationally and globally. Therefore, I hypothesize that
while investigating the media coverage of terrorism two factors should remain in
consideration: the site of the terrorist incident, and the location (origin, country, etc.)
of the media whose coverage is under study.
A similar study suggested the notion of media-terrorism symbiosis is strengthened
as British TV channels overly focused on the theme of awe and terror while covering
the Mumbai attacks in 2008 (Iqbal, 2015). The study maintained TV channels give
disproportionate coverage to terrorist events in order to increase viewership. On the
other hand, consciously or unconsciously, the TV channels help the terrorists by
spreading their message to a large audience. In the present study, however, an effort
is made to look at the situation from a different perspective to test the abovementioned hypothesis. The result is that the nature of media coverage of terrorism
changes significantly when the event is happening in the base country of the media
organization instead of in a foreign country.
The findings were considerably different in the coverage of the London bombings
in 2005 by the British TV news channels, compared to the above-mentioned study of
the Mumbai attacks in 2008. This time the TV channels refrained from focusing on
the theme of awe and terror and the emphasis largely remained on the perpetrators,
national harmony, and the efforts of emergency control organizations.
To comprehend how one aspect of an event is selected and prioritized over others,
we need to understand how a particular pattern of news coverage emerges through
careful and considerable actions that are generally referred to as news framing.
News Framing
It is almost an established notion that terrorism cannot achieve its desired goals
without mediation by the media. Therefore, many eminent media scholars
describe the media terrorism-nexus with phrases like “mass mediated terrorism”
(Nacos, 2007) and “mediatised terrorism” (Cottle, 2006). Therefore, the primary
focus has been shifted from what the media cover to how the media cover
terrorist incidents: “the way that information is organized and presented”
(Powell, 2011, p. 93). The selection, organization, prioritization, and presentation
of news stories through a conscious process are collectively called news framing.
For Altheide (1996, p. 30) a news frame is a “very broad thematic emphasis or
definitions of a report […] similar to the border around a picture that separates it
from the wall and other possibilities.” In other words, as Norris Montague, and
Marion (2003, p. 11) opine, “it is the prioritization of some aspects of a development over the other to promote one particular interpretation of the event.” In
contrast to this general interpretation of a news frame, Entman (1993, p. 52)
defines frames in more elaborate terms. For him a news frame is “selecting
some aspects of a perceived reality and making them more salient in a communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal
interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation for the item
An illustration of media framing can be seen in the pre-9/11 presentation of Arabs:
the suppliers of oil. However, in the post 9/11 scenario they are generally dubbed as
either potential (sometimes actual) terrorists and/or perpetrators of terrorism. Powell
(2011, p. 94) has put it in this way:
An analysis of episodic news frames of terrorist events since 9/11 demonstrates
how thematic coverage of terrorism has developed through frames composed of
labels, common themes, and rhetorical associations, which portrayed terrorism
as an international threat organized by Muslims /Arabs /Islam.
News Themes and Patterns
Media researchers tend to look for certain patterns in the coverage of an event as a
tool for empirical research (e.g., Philo & Berry, 2011). These tools are called themes
of coverage and help identify and place the agenda of a news organization. A theme,
broadly speaking, is used to describe an integrated and relational idea (Richards,
2005). In any news coverage there are different angles, frames, and layers of
452 Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media/June 2017
interpretation that are dealt with by a news organization in accordance with its
values, editorial policy, target audience, economic and logistical constraints, and
technological limitations/growth. Therefore, it may be stated that the themes are
“general messages that are grouped together in a certain way and are reiterated in
specific scenarios” (Altheide, 1996, p. 24). It may also be noted that the terms like
“concept,” “category,” and “theme” have also been used interchangeably in the
media literature to describe a coherent idea presented over a period of time (Bazeley,
2007). In other words, a theme is a construct that represents a certain pattern
occurring in a recurring and/or regular fashion in the given data.
The Mumbai Attacks in 2008 and the British TV News Channels
The Mumbai event was unique in many ways. It was not a single event carried out
at one place and at one time. It did not happen in a short time sequence. It was a
series of events, extended over no less than ten places and spread over a span of
more than 72 two hours, carried out by different groups of militants adopting a
variety of terrorist strategies.
In one study, the British TV news outlets played an important role in mediating the
Mumbai event’s terrorist messages and focused primarily on images of terror and
violence. It was maintained that “while there are key differences between public and
commercial TV news in the style and presentation of coverage, […] the news
channels concentrate on televising death and injury and the propagation of chaos
and confusion in the affected city” (Iqbal, 2015, p. 197). The findings of the study
hinge on evaluation of the coverage from two perspectives: the prominence given to
the theme of awe and terror, and various dimensions of the theme presented and
their treatment by different TV channels. The findings are augmented by the comparison between news and current affairs programs. News programs gave extensive
coverage to this theme, particularly on the first day of coverage. The theme was
invariably the first headline in all the programs—in some cases the only headline;
booked its place as the top story; remained the heading of most of the reports; and
occupied most of the spaces on the first day of reporting. For current affairs programs,
the overall coverage was dominated by the elements of fear, terror, and shock at the
sheer scale of death and destruction caused by the attacks. The choice of words and
images and the repetition of videos of gory scenes only emphasize the point (Iqbal,
While there is no denying that the event itself was unique in its nature and scope,
the TV channels gave skewed coverage to other possible themes. In covering terrorist
activity other themes can also be presented such as the responsibility for the attacks,
emergency responses of the affected environment, defiance and solidarity of the
victims, and their mourning and suffering. However, the importance given to the awe
and terror theme and the manner it was presented indicate the TV media preferred
dramatic coverage for a longer period of time in an effort to gain and retain increased
Research Methodology
On 7 July 2005, London became victim of a deadly terrorist attack. Three
underground trains and a bus were targeted in Central London in a series of wellplanned bomb blasts. According to the media reports, more than 55 people were
killed and over 700 people were injured. This study is primarily a thematic
qualitative analysis of the coverage of the London Attacks in 2005 by British TV
news channels.
The aim of this study is to identify a particular frame of the news coverage.
However, eventually the focus is on the selection and presentation of different
themes within that frame to have a detailed analysis. The population for the study
is the coverage of three successive days of the 2005 London attacks by British TV
channels. Within this population, the main focus of investigation is prime time
news bulletins and current affairs programs of BBC News, ITV News, and
Channel 4 News. In this regard, the broadcasts of 2200 hours and 2230 hours
of BBC News and ITV News respectively are the samples representing the news
bulletins. BBC Newsnight represents the current affairs programs category. Since
there is no parallel current affairs program on ITV News, its sister organization
Channel 4’s 1900 hours news has been selected, which is considered a current
affairs program based on its nature and style of presentation. All these programs
were taken from the televised coverage for three successive days—from 7 July to
9 July 2005.
In this regard, the following research questions have been formulated:
RQ1: How does the theme of awe and terror arise from the coverage by the British
TV news channels of the 2005 London attacks?
RQ2: What key relationship indicators between TV news reporting and terrorist
activity arise while the event is happening on the home soil?
RQ3: Does the reporting of a terrorist event by the British TV news channels
become more careful and responsible when terrorism is unfolding on the
British soil?
RQ4: How different was the reporting of the 2005 London Attacks from the 2008
Mumbai attacks by the British TV news channels?
Identification and Interpretation of Interpretive Themes
In each program, different emerging themes were identified and coded. The
process was carried out by careful and repeated views of original videos, making
their transcripts and taking detailed notes. The themes were identified through
454 Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media/June 2017
qualitative deduction. Later, each theme was reviewed and the following aspects of
coverage were noted and codified:

Framing of the theme and its presentation.
The (re)occurrence of the frame in the same and/or other themes, if any.
Prominence of the theme in terms of its appearance: a) on a particular day of the
program, b) in the headlines, c) as the top story, d) in the first report of the
program, e) in the first interaction of the program, f) in a later segment of the
program as it progressed, and g) not begin included in a particular day of
Choice of words and phrases in the title of news reports and in the narrative in a
particular context.
Choice of images shown with a particular narrative.
Choice of file videos and images in reports.
The presentation of sounds, as different from the commentary that accompanied
the latter.
Analysis of the Coverage
Looking at the news coverage of the 2005 London attacks from a thematic
perspective, it was observed that the theme of awe and terror was not overly focused.
In terms of news value, a terrorist event has an immense appeal. A TV channel
cannot avoid reporting it. The scale of destruction, the number of dead and injured,
and the prevailing atmosphere in the affected area are usually the necessary ingredients of the reporting of such an event. The presentation of these aspects of an
event, when collectively structured, may also be referred to as the theme of awe and
terror. However, variables like the choice of words, the images shown and their
frequency, and the overall treatment of the theme make us understand the choices
made at an editorial level on how to cover a terrorist event. The following discussion
will showcase the themes that were chosen and the way they were presented in a
particular frame during the sample period.
The Awe and Terror Theme. Awe and terror was one of the prominent themes of
the 2005 London attacks coverage, but not the leading theme during the sample
period. However, it was difficult to ignore the fact that the coverage remained careful
and less sensational. It was observed, particularly on the second and third day of
coverage, that a conscious effort was made at an editorial level to minimize drama,
which is an unavoidable in coverage of such an event. Overall, the level and
intensity of the prominence given the theme remained very low, particularly after
initial reporting on the first day and on the second and third days of coverage.
Generally, the theme was given more space and generated more sensationalism
on ITV News and Channel 4 News than on BBC News and Newsnight. On ITV
News, on the second day of coverage, there was a special program on London
Bombings. It returned to its normal schedule only on the third day after the event. On
the whole, the theme was least visible on BBC Newsnight.
On the first day, the theme was invariably the first headline in all the programs—in
some cases the only headline, booked its place as the top story, and remained the
heading of most of the reports. It was also evident in the titles and opening lines of
stories, semantics, witness accounts, and some gory images. Following are the
instances taken from actual coverage that highlight such treatment of the theme
(emphasis added).
Newscaster: Terror in the rush hour, four explosions as Londoners travel to
work. A bus is ripped to pieces, bomb blasts hit the tubes. At
least 37 people are dead hundreds more are seriously injured. (ITV
News /2230 /07-07-05)
Anchor: Thirty seven dead and 170 injured in the worst terrorist attack on a
British city. (BBC Newsnight /2230 /07-07-05)
Anchor: Thirty seven dead, seven hundred injured in four bombings across
central London.
Witness: Within seconds….. it was just pandemonium down there. It’s like
being in hell. (Channel 4 News /1900 /07-07-05)
Introduction of the Story /Opening Lines of News Reports
Newscaster: Today’s terrorist attacks in Central London have claimed the lives
of at least 38 people. Hundreds have been injured, dozens are
critically ill tonight. (BBC News /2200 /07-07-05)
Newscaster: The people of our city were today given the horrifying reminder of
the stark reality of terror. Thirty seven lost their lives in attacks by
terrorists. (ITV News /2230 /07-07-05)
Reporter: Today, the chilling sounds of hundreds of emergency vehicles
announced that dreaded day had come and the lives of totally
innocent people were being shattered. (Channel 4 News /2230 /
Witness Accounts
Witness: I am here working in the casualty for six months but this is like six
months casualty in three hours. (BBC News /2200 /07-07-05)
Man: There was just blood, burns, people with burnt hair. (BBC News /
2200 /07-07-05)
456 Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media/June 2017
Witness: Human debris all over the place. Bodies, people were wailing and a
few people were trying to help. (BBC News /2200 /08-07-05)
Words and phrases like “dead,” “number of deaths,” “blood,” “destruction,”
“trauma,” “dreaded day,” “horror,” “fearful,” “frightening experience,” “truly terrible,” “horrible event,” etc., were used randomly during the first day of coverage. On
BBC News, the newscaster labeled the bombings as “the deadliest ever peace time
attack on London.” The choice of words in the phrase was interesting given the fact
that Britain had already been involved in two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by that
time. The phrase seems even starker when we note that Channel 4, too, described
the event as “the deadliest ever peace time attack on London.”
Similarly, the images shown also accentuated the theme. Pic …
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