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The Art of Foreign Policy: Reporting on Terrorism

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Carl Court
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A New Zealand flag is placed next to flowers and tributes near Al Noor mosque on March 18, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. 50 people were killed, and dozens are still injured in hospital after a gunman opened fire on two Christchurch mosques.

Lawmakers in New Zealand are reportedly working to revise that country’s gun laws, following this month’s mass shootings at two mosques that killed at least fifty people and wounded others. It’s a story that has resulted in a worldwide conversation about white nationalism, gun violence, and how we talk about terrorism. 

Lake Effect foreign policy contributor Art Cyr says there are many challenges for media people who cover terrorist acts. They must balance their responsibility to report on these events accurately, while avoiding coverage that could spur more attacks. 

Cyr says, "Maintaining professional standards in the face of pervasive drives in search of profits, but maintaining journalistic standards, avoiding what we used to call 'sensationalism' is still in order."

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Arthur I. Cyr is Director of the Clausen Center for World Business and Clausen Distinguished Professor at Carthage College in Kenosha. Previously he was President of the Chicago World Trade Center, the Vice President of the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, a faculty member and executive at UCLA, and an executive at the Ford Foundation. His publications include the book After the Cold War - American Foreign Policy, Europe and Asia (Macmillan and NYU Press).