Making the international local: The terrorist attack on the USS Cole, local casualties, and media coverage

Scott Sigmund Gartner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


I explore whether newspapers that represent regions experiencing "local casualties," that is, fatalities from an international violent event, give greater coverage to the incident. Research suggests that local casualties influence domestic politics, yet scholars have given little attention to either the influence of local casualties on reporting or the impact of international events on local press coverage. I examine the effect of local casualties on local media by analyzing the frequency of newspaper coverage of the October 2000 terrorist bombing of the USS Cole. Using a variety of techniques, including random effects logit and repeat failure hazard analysis, I find that newspapers from areas that experienced casualties from the Cole attack were more likely to report on the bombing, even when controlling for paper-specific and temporal effects. Driven by community casualties, variation in local media attention to an international news story may help to explain why the effects of international events on individual attitudes and domestic political effects vary geographically, a necessary condition for institutional arguments for the democratic peace.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-159
Number of pages21
JournalPolitical Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science


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