Disruptive Media Events: Managing mediated dissent in the aftermath of terror
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournalism Practice. 2017, 11 (8), 942-959. 10.1080/17512786.2016.1220258
Terror attacks force democratic societies to mobilize, reinforce and rethink core values, including media freedom and freedom of speech. The present article analyzes how one traumatic event—the 2011 Oslo terror—challenged editorial practices related to editorial control and open debate in major Norwegian media organizations. Meeting the call for more research on disruptive media events in a hybrid media landscape, it illuminates how professional media balance critical debate with strategies for societal recovery in contemporary post-crisis contexts. Based on in-depth interviews with debate editors, the article documents how terror profoundly challenges editorial practices, routines and norms in media organizations with debates in multiple formats and platforms. In their online comment sections, the media organizations all moved towards a more interventionist policy introducing multiple new control measures. In the traditional op-ed formats, however, they selectively expanded the range of voices and included actors deemed too extreme prior to the attacks. Theoretically the article contributes to the literature on disruptive (key) events, editorial strategies during crisis, editorial control in contemporary media systems and editorial approaches to mediated deviance.