The Oxygen of Publicity: Explaining U.S. Media Coverage of International Kidnapping

Danielle Gilbert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


What explains U.S. media coverage of Americans kidnapped abroad? While some hostages receive national media attention, others hardly make the local news. Using an original, event count dataset of newspaper stories about Americans kidnapped abroad since 2001, this article tests the oft-cited, under-measured assumption that “terrorism” receives more media attention than other violence. Controlling for variation across kidnapping, I show that those framed as “terrorism” receive more coverage. Challenging existing literature, I also demonstrate that incidents with more victims receive less coverage than those incidents with fewer victims, and that there is no “missing white woman syndrome” in international kidnapping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalStudies in Conflict and Terrorism
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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