Promoting stories about terrorism to the international news media: A study of public diplomacy

Moran Yarchi*, Gadi Wolfsfeld, Tamir Sheafer, Shaul R. Shenhav

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Antagonists' images in the international news media can play a significant role in determining their level of political success in the international arena, which explains why so many political actors invest considerable resources in public diplomacy. The goal of the present study is to explain the level of success that various actors (countries and non-state actors) have in promoting their preferred frames about terror to the international news media. Four types of explanatory variables are proposed, divided into context and focal event factors. Context factors include the political values and policy proximity between the country attacked (the victimized country) and a country whose news media have been targeted for influence (the target country), as well as the target country's experience in dealing with terror. Focal event factors refer to the nature of the trigger events that generate news coverage of terrorism. Apart from one exception (the policy proximity), all of the hypotheses were confirmed. The findings indicated that focal event factors have the most significant effect on the way foreign media covers conflicts and that, when it comes to coverage of terrorism, journalists are more interested in constructing a dramatic story than putting the events into a more general political context.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)263-278
Number of pages16
JournalMedia, War and Conflict
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Smart Institute of communication and the Levi Eshkol Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


  • content analysis
  • foreign media
  • framing
  • public diplomacy
  • terrorism


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