Research Goal

The Boko Haram crisis is one of the worse terrorism events that has ravaged West Africa, affecting economic, political and social growth. The news play an important role of informing their audience of salient issues and creating awareness in order for users to be equipped with meaningful and fact based information. This research explores the coverage of the Boko Haram crisis in two prominent United States daily newspapers- New York Times and Washington Post and two Nigerian daily newspapers- The Guardian and Vanguard to determine the format, style and strategy of their coverage of the crisis and how their messaging may impact their audience.

Key Research Questions

  • How did the coverage of the Boko Haram crisis change over periods of time andspace?
  • How did the four newspapers show frame changing patterns in the Boko Haram crisis coverage?


Adopted Framing analysis. Combined one month online ethnography and four months quantitative content analysis.

  • Phase 1: Conduct Online analysis about the newspapers and literature reviews.
  • Phase 2: Assess story population (N=4,100).
  • Phase 3: Define Sample size (n= 1,001) using a systematic sampling method, with confidence level of 95% and 4% margin of error.
  • Phase 4: 2 months categorization, data analysis and reporting

Comparative Analysis

  • Exploration and deep dive was conducted horizontally- same country and vertically- two country analysis.


  • Shift in coverage, although with horizontal and vertical differences.
  • Individual affect indicated an episodic coverage, bolstering great emotional support and human interest draw.
  • A shift to the society and then international level which was more contextual (thematic) indicating the wider social impact of terrorism.
  • Three dimensional shift in coverage- from the episodic to the thematic, from the individual (through the societal) to the international level, and from the present (immediate) to the future implications of terrorism.


  • To draw attention to framing as a lens to understand terrorism news expansion salience.

Next Step

  • Adopt interviews and surveys with journalists and editors to determine more perspectives.
  • Consider issue of frame relevance and cycle, to examine the life span of a news frame and its period of salience.


Boko Haram crisis, content analysis, crisis, framing, frame change, frame expansion, Nigeria, quantitative, space, terrorism, time

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