Shooting War Or Peace Photographs? An Examination of Newswires’ Coverage of the Conflict in Gaza (2008-2009)

Shahira Fahmy, Rico Neumann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


According to Galtung, a peace journalism frame is one that highlights peace initiatives and tones down differences by promoting conflict resolution. A war journalism frame, in his view, is one that highlights differences between opposing parties, urging violence as means to a resolution. Thus, based on the above classification of these two competing frames of war coverage, this is one of the first studies to empirically test the model via a visual quantitative analysis. Using news photographs, this study analyzes the extent to which the Gaza War (2008-2009) was represented as war versus peace journalism in the three leading Western newswires (Associated Press, Reuters, and AFP/Getty Images). Findings indicate that all three wires combined provided a variety of visual frames to communicate a comprehensive coverage of the event. This observed pattern therefore highlights the role of gatekeeping in providing a broad-based understanding of conflicts. In other words, it becomes crucial to note that photo selections in terms of war versus peace journalism ultimately has an impact in shaping public opinion and influencing perceptions of news events. Furthermore, from a theoretical standpoint, this work expands the classification of war versus peace journalism by operationalizing these frames into concrete pictorial patterns from a visual communication perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)NP1-NP26
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Gaza War
  • framing
  • gatekeeping
  • journalism
  • media
  • visuals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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