Transnational Television Audiences after September 11

Gillespie, Marie (2006). Transnational Television Audiences after September 11. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 32(6) pp. 903–921.



This introductory article sets out the theoretical and methodological framework of a research project into news-viewing in multilingual families and households in the UK on and after 11 September 2001 upon which the articles in this special issue are based. Viewing the attacks of 11 September 2001 and their aftermath on television triggered deep emotional responses in viewers. Many people experienced a sense of trauma; these events forced viewers to think about the unthinkable—violent and painful death at the hands of terrorists—and the consequences of continuing Muslim–Western political tensions. In thinking through the causes, meanings and consequences of these events, viewers offered accounts of other ‘ground zeros’. They compared and contrasted coverage on a range of channels such as BBC, Al-Jazeera and CNN, and actively sought alternative news sources because of perceived bias in Western reporting. The research examines the extent to which different patterns of news consumption reinforce or relativise understandings of terrorism and political violence.

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