The Shock of the News: Media Coverage and the Making of 9/11

By Brian A. Monahan | Go to book overview

Notes

CHAPTER 1

1. This is seen as particularly beneficial to those who wish to find news outside what is produced by the “mainstream” media. Some people also believe that the expansion of the traditional media and the introduction of a host of “new” media democratize news making by creating new and exciting avenues for people outside the news industry to contribute to the information mix (such as the “citizen”-produced journalism found on certain Internet “blogs”).

2. As I discuss in chapter 2, these individuals do not assign valuations of newsworthiness or construct the news in a vacuum; instead, their actions are guided by a particular cultural logic for making news within the broader structural (e.g., economic and technological) inducements and constraints in which they operate.

3. While other historical events may have attracted a similar level of coverage in the short term (e.g., the Challenger disaster in 1985) or maintained the interest of media officials and media audiences over an extended period of time (e.g., the O. J. Simpson saga), no other event in history has garnered the combined amount and duration of coverage than that generated by the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

4. This combined approach is the same as that used in other media research. Findings reported elsewhere (Gitlin 1980; Jacobs 2000) suggest that network television news and the New York Times are similar enough to be analyzed together.

5. Some of this research is discussed in detail in edited volumes about the media and 9/11 (see, e.g., Chermak, Bailey, and Brown 2003; Greenberg 2002; Grusin and Utt 2005; Noll 2003).

6. Audiences tend to look to television first because it offers instant information to its audiences, is readily available throughout the day, provides what seems like a real-time window into an event, and wraps its offerings in a thrilling technological bundle of moving pictures, graphics, and sound that enhances its appeal to its audience. “Because of its ubiquity, accessibility, and technological ability to broadcast in ‘real time,’ television has in contemporary times served as the principal media choice during national crises for most Americans” (Ruggiero and Glascock 2002, 66). See also Carey 2003; Greenberg, Hofschire, and Lachlan 2002; Rainie and Kalsnes 2002.

7. Kirsten Mogenson and her colleagues (2002) conducted a content analysis of the first eight hours of September 11 coverage on the major news networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and Fox News) and found that 34 percent of NBC’s total coverage during that period focused on what was happening at the WTC (this was more than any other

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