Struggles for Visibility: Surveillance Representations and Self-Representations of Terrorists in the News Media

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This article addresses the ways in which terrorists are rendered visible in the news media. By studying images used in coverage of terrorists, the article focuses on the visual construction of this figure, which symbolizes the public’s notion of the “enemy”, in terms of specific attacks and the general threat thereof as well as terrorist actors, networks, and ideologies. The article takes its point of departure in the assumption that two visual forms are prevalent for representing terrorists in the news media, “surveillance representations” and “self-representations”. Based on this assumption, the article is guided by a principal research question, namely: How are terrorists made visible in the news media through surveillance representations and self-representations and what are the preva- lent genres for visually representing terrorist actors? The article draws on a theoretical framework concerning the news media’s propensity to personalize the terrorist and the mediated visibility of terrorists. Empirically, the article is based on a quantitative content analysis of coverage of terrorism by Danish public service broadcasters DR and TV2 in 2016 to provide an overview of the proportions between surveillance representations and self-representations and develop a typology of the most widespread genres: ID photography, surveillance footage, selfies and similar, and private snapshots.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournalism Studies
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)911-931
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ID: 194892313