Who was hurt? Effects of victim characteristics in news articles about far-right violence on fear and terrorism label use

Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


Right-wing extremist (RWE) violence and terrorism pose a severe threat to Western societies, including Germany. This study tests how differences in journalistic descriptions of minority and majority victims of such attacks affect news readers. Building on social identity theory, we conducted a 2 (nationality: German, Turkish) × 2 (humanization, no humanization) × 2 (ingroup activation, no ingroup activation) between-subjects experiment in Germany (N = 420). We exposed participants to news articles about fictional RWE violent attacks and investigated how victims’ nationality, humanization—mentioning the victims’ friends and family and positive traits—and ingroup activation, i.e., explicitly stating that the victim was someone from the midst of society, impact perceived similarity to the victims and in turn (1) fear of right-wing terrorism and (2) the extent to which participants perceive the violent act as terrorism. We found that journalistic practices of humanization and ingroup activation do not mitigate the negative effect of Turkish nationality on similarity. Similarity positively relates to fear and use of the terrorism label. Further results, limitations, and implications for journalism practice are discussed.

Frühes Online-Datum15 Dez. 2023
PublikationsstatusElektronische Veröffentlichung vor Drucklegung - 15 Dez. 2023

ÖFOS 2012

  • 508007 Kommunikationswissenschaft