Transnational Media Coverage of the ISIS Threat: A Global Perspective?

Xu Zhang, Lea Hellmueller


This study examines elements of what has been defined as global journalism and compares online news stories of Al Jazeera English and CNN regarding the ISIS threat. The empirical inquiry presents the similarities and differences in transnational news outlets’ coverage of a global crisis. The results of a quantitative content analysis (N = 320) suggest that different transnational news outlets share some features in their news coverage of a global challenge but still differ significantly. CNN mostly cites governmental official sources, whereas Al Jazeera English relies more on information from other news media. In addition, CNN mainly adopts a geopolitics frame focusing on the strategies of dealing with ISIS, whereas Al Jazeera English uses the dominant frame of existential threat. Results further indicate that elements of global journalism do not go beyond human rights issues.


global journalism, transnational media, ISIS, CNN, Al Jazeera English, content analysis

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