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Abstract

This article provides a model for how communication phenomena can be normativelyassessed using multiple normative perspectives simultaneously. We exemplify the proce-dure of multiperspectival normative assessment (MNA) using mediated reactions to ter-rorism as our case in point. We first identify the normative challenges related to thespeed and substance of terrorism communication and the ways in which relations ofsolidarity are communicatively constructed in reacting to terrorism. We link these chal-lenges to four distinct normative theories that prioritize competing values for public dis-course (freedom, community values, empowerment of the marginalized or constructivedebate). The resulting set of competing normative expectations, which help assess theperformance of terrorism communication, are eventually translated into recommenda-tions for professional and non-professional communicators. In conclusion, we showhow MNA can help ground empirical scholarship in firmer theoretical foundationswhile simultaneously demonstrating the usefulness of normative theory in analyzing awide range of issues.

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Is It Easier to Scare Us or Piss Us Off? The Impact of Terrorist Attacks on News Discourse Across 74 Years of New York Times Reporting
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