PRINT MEDIA PRIMING OF TERRORISM ISSUES IN KENYA

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ABSTRACT
This study set out to examine how the print media in Kenya primes terrorism issues. The population of this study comprised of 1,142 newspaper articles on terrorism-related stories published in The Daily Nation and The Standard newspaper from January to June 2015. The research is guided by the priming theory and the agenda setting theory. Using the priming theory, the study sought to identify the patterns of reporting terrorism issues in the print media in Kenya while the agenda setting theory explained how the media sets the agenda by placing emphasis on terrorism issues thus making the public view these issues as important. The research applied retrospective study design to establish the print media coverage on terrorism issues in Kenya. The study used purposive sampling to select articles and data were collected using a content analysis of the stories contained in the leading newspapers that related to terrorism issues. It was then presented using a tabular comparison of graphs, charts and text. Findings of this research indicate that the print media in Kenya lacks consistency in the coverage of terrorism issues. The study found that terrorism issues were allocated more space and published on the prime pages of the newspaper particularly when covering a terror attack, particularly of a large magnitude while smaller stories on terrorism were confined in the inside pages of the newspapers. Media did not put much effort into analyzing and doing in-depth analysis on the issues of terrorism as they used news stories which were reports from reporters in the field and briefs to report on terrorism issues. The study concluded that media priming of terrorism issues in Kenya is inadequate. The print media in Kenya was found to be lacking in consistency in reporting terrorism issues. Media primes terrorism issues particularly when a terror attack resulting to the death of many occurs and does not follow up on coverage. The study recommends that the media becomes proactive in promoting stories that educate and inform the public more on terrorism.

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