Postprint version. Published in The Social Science Journal, Volume 41, Issue 2, January 1, 2004, pages 301-307.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Douglas Swanson was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soscij.2004.01.011.
This research examines the reporting of negative economic impact resulting from September 11, 2001 terrorism incidents. Student researchers who coordinated the project began with MSNBC’s World Wide Web-based “Layoff List” containing the names of corporate entities that claimed economic harm from the terrorist attacks. Students identified business problems and categorized resulting responses (taken or proposed) reported by MSNBC. Then, a content analysis was conducted of affected firms’ institutional Web sites for corroboration and/or explanation of the claimed economic injury. Although 99% of the business entities subjected to study had institutional Web sites, 84% of the firms made no mention of injury claim(s) on their institutional site. Among entities which did make online corroboration/explanation of media reports, fewer than half did so with detailed financial reports and most used rhetorical strategies that made business issues sound ambiguous while focusing blame for problems on variables outside the organization’s control.