The Woolwich Attack remains an archetypal case of domestic terrorism in terms of its violent theatricalization and usage of user-generated content. Its unprecedented coverage on social media has in particular been noted as potentially having a paradigmic effect on way terrorism is viewed. To explore the spectral nature of the event media coverage and understand the perceptive effects it had on London residents, a qualitative research project was conducted to gauge public opinion. Primary data was collected upon a theoretical sampling of fifteen Londoners using semi-structured interviews and interpreted using a framework analysis. Results indicate that the predominate mode by which residents learned of the attack was through traditional media outlets. Although there was significant discussion upon the video address created during attack, this was generally only viewed after or in conjunction with journalistic interpretation. Even with mixed determinations on the objectivity of the specific media sources cited, definitions of terrorism were not seen to change as a direct result, the attack only reaffirming prior stereotypic Islamic conceptions proffered by historic media cases of terrorism. Despite results being limited by retrograde measurement methods, the early dawning of patterns and redundancies demonstrates some level of data saturation, indicating that traditional media sources still have a preponderant informative and perceptive effect on terrorism.
Keywords: Woolwich Attack, Lee Rigby, Terrorism, London, Public Opinion, Media Perceptions, User-Generated Content, Web 2.0, Qualitative, Interviews
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