Introduction

Since 2018, students from the department of journalism at the University of Richmond have been in conversation with journalists who have reported conflicts involving terrorism around the world. There is plenty of literature on terrorism from the fields of military and security studies, sociology, political science and even media studies, but there has been little attempt to define what reporting terrorism actually means for journalists on the ground.

What particular skills or methods are best suited to reporting conflicts involving terrorist groups and organizations? What are the concerns when producing, publishing or broadcasting news, considering how important news media are to the strategies of militant organizations or nation states that are party to the conflicts. Is there, in other words, such a thing as the “terrorism beat?” If so, what does it mean to be a reporter on this beat or a publication covering it?

In these conversations with professionals in the field, the student journalists have attempted to identify some of the ideas and themes that might define such an important sub-genre of war and conflict reporting.