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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:22 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #62: September 17, 2002


Journal Name: Prometheus: Volume 20, Number 3, September 2002

Symposium on Communication on September 11

A. Michael Noll


Live Television's Disaster Marathon of September 11th and Its Subversive Potential
Menahem Blondheim and Tamar Liebes
Department of Communication, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Television's coverage of the tragic events of September 11th can be viewed and understood as a paradigmatic disaster marathon. The salience of the attack's visual images, their exclusivity on the screen for a protracted period, and the invisibility of their perpetrators enhanced its effectiveness. The paper highlights a number of problems the September 11th disaster marathon poses to the profession of journalism and to society, and points out possible remedies for the future. It ends with a short discussion of the ways in which television's coverage of the event both resembled and differed from the media-event model, and of theoretical aspects of its unique dimensions as a disaster marathon.

Globalization Isn't New; Anti-Globalization Isn't Either:
September 11 and the History of Nations

James W. Carey
Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University, USA

The September 11 attack on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center reveals, among other things, a colossal failure of intelligence and radical deficiencies in our understanding of communications in the modern world. The history of nations and the history of communications are continuous, though contradictory, since the 18th century, and those continuities and contradictions are revealed by way of analysis of September 11th and its aftermath.

Media Use During A Crisis
John Carey
Greystone Communications, USA

After learning about the crisis of September 11th, Americans overwhelmingly turned to television for more information. However, people used multiple sources of information. The Web and e-mail appear to have played important but secondary roles to television and the telephone. Overall, media functioned well in meeting extraordinary demands for information and communication.

Civic Actions after September 11th:
Exploring the Role of Multi-Level Storytelling

Elisia L. Cohen, Sandra J. Ball-Rokeach, Joo-Young Jung, and Yong-Chan Kim
Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California, USA

Interpersonal and media storytelling were crucial to information dissemination about the September 11th tragedies. The storytelling processes through which urban residents are transformed into members of a broader community is illustrated by their connections to media and their participation in neighborhood discussions and community organizations after September 11th. This study demonstrates how a communication infrastructure approach contributes to understanding participation in civil society after September 11th.

Say Goodbye ... Let's Roll:
The Social Dynamics of Wireless Networks on September 11th

William H. Dutton and Frank Nainoa
Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California, USA

This article describes the use of wireless telecommunication media within the different locations directly affected by the hijackings on September 11th. Comparisons across these different contexts provides an empirical anchor to more general themes concerning the social dynamics of wireless in the unfolding events of this day. An indication is given of how the important social role of wireless phones in this crisis could redefine public views on wireless media and thereby shape policy and regulation in the years ahead.

Catching the Wave: German Media on September 11th
Joachim W. H. Haes
Institute for Media and Communications Management, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland

This paper describes reactions in the German publication Der Spiegel to the September 11th' attacks. The paper starts with describing the live reporting in German media and analyzes the Der Spiegel edition of September 15th. The aim is to give an idea of how European journalists handled the situation and how different conclusions developed.

The Telephone as a Medium of Faith, Hope, Terror, and Redemption: America, September 11th
James E. Katz and Ronald E. Rice
Department of Communication, Rutgers University, USA

This article explores how ordinary people used telephone technology during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the USA. Personal emergency communication is heavily imbued with emotional meaning. These messages address major life problems and values, such as leaving final messages and expressing love and concern, sometimes requiring extreme efforts. They also show that formal technical characteristics of media, and boundaries across media, are not particularly salient to people who have pressing personal and social communication needs.

Representing Islam in the Wake of September 11th: A Comparison of US Television and CNN Online Messageboard Discourses
Patrick Martin and Sean Phelan
School of Communications, Dublin City University, Ireland

This paper contrasts the immediate representations of Islam on US television and CNN's online messageboard by focusing on the noun phrases for 'Islamic' used in both media fora from September 11th to September 16th. The study found some notable congruities and differences in the associations made with Islam in each context. It considers these findings in terms of previous research on the representation of Islam and terrorism in 'western' media; the official insistence that 'we' are not at war with Islam; and media theories of 'framing' and 'reception.'

Something's Happened: Fictional Media as a Coping Mechanism
Fiona McNee
Queensland, Australia

By the afternoon of September 11th, entertainment executives were rushing to remove media products containing "inappropriate" references from American television and movie screens. While references to terrorism were the starting point, their caution extended to themes of war and threats against America, all in the name of "public sensitivity" and "respect for the victims." Simultaneously, uninterrupted news coverage was brimming with scenes of devastation and heartbreak. What makes fiction inappropriate when the equivalent fact is not? Can fiction help the viewer process fact, and if so, should it?

The Internet and the Demand for News
Paul N. Rappoport
Department of Economics, Temple University, USA

This paper looks at the demand for Internet news sites before and after September 11th. Analyzing information obtained from actual click-stream activity, support is found for the view that the events of September 11th changed the way households used the Internet to obtain information and news. These changes are observed long after September 11th.

Is there a Bin Laden in the Audience?
Considering the Events of September 11th as a Possible Boomerang Effect of the Globalization of U.S. Mass Communication

René-Jean Ravault
Department of communications, University of Quebec at Montreal, Canada

The images of America exported by entertainment and information media companies have created very high expectations in foreign audiences. Some recipients overhearing American media want to immigrate to the U.S. and/or study in Western universities. In the process, a few of them encountered difficulties deceiving their high expectations. Their frustrations have been exploited by some fanatic ideologues for their own agendas, resulting in anti-American terrorism. The American media should be aware of the unintended consequences of their global exhibition of media, and more careful attention should be given to the way immigrants or graduate students sojourning into the U.S live their day-to-day encounters

Diffusion of News of the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001
Everett M. Rogers and Nancy Seidel
Department of Communication and Journalism, University of New Mexico, USA

We report findings here from an audience survey in New Mexico of the diffusion of a spectacular news event, the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. This news event was perceived as very salient, and it diffused rapidly. The first terrorist attack occurred at 6:45am (New Mexico time); within three hours almost all respondents had heard about the news event. Individuals reacted to this news in an emotional way, with many respondents praying, participating in a memorial event for the victims, contributing money and donating blood. The terrorist attacks also evoked a strong sense of patriotism. Compared to the news events studied in 52 previous investigations, the September 11th terrorist attacks caused stronger, and more emotional, audience reactions.

The September 11th Attacks on the U.S. in the New Interactive Media Space in Estonia
Pille Vengerfeldt
Department of Journalism and Communications, Tartu University, Estonia

This paper examines how Estonians dealt with the news concerning the September 11th attack in the new electronic communication space of the Internet. This work will summarize people's discussions on the Internet relating to the September 11th attacks by outlining the different narratives that carried people's attitudes and knowledge. The paper aims to show the internet not only as a medium for obtaining more information about the attacks but was also as a medium for discussion and crisis support. This research is based on 1) a survey amongst Tartu University students and follow up semi-structured interviews, 2) an analysis of the comment pages on Estonian electronic newspapers and 3) an analysis of four chat logs from Estonian talkers.

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