Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Digital Journalism (MADJ)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Peter Kimani


Graduate School of Media and Communications


The reporting of Terror Incidents (TIs) by the media in Kenya started when the first case was reported under the reign of President Jomo Kenyatta (1963-1978), with the first incident reported in 1980, when Palestinian militants staged an attack at Norfolk Hotel on New Year’s eve. Whereas the media has had to balance covering TIs in a timely, factual and objective manner, journalists also need to frame their narratives to reflect the event's social, economic and psychological dimensions. They strive to avoid sensationalism, bias and a presentation of facts that could be seen to fan militants’ propaganda. This study aimed to analyse frames the mainstream print media applied in the coverage of the Dusit kenya. The study sought to identify the frames adopted by mainstream print media in the coverage of the Dusit D2 terror attack in Kenya, which took place in 2019. The study examined factors influencing the framing of perpetrators involved in the Dusit D2 hotel TI by the mainstream print media. The framing theory guided the study. The study employed a concurrent research design using a mixed methods approach. The population of the study was all 44 print publications/newspapers in Kenya. The target population consisted of 217 stories on the Dusit D2 TI identified pre-study published by the Daily Nation and the Standard over three weeks, between 16th January and 6th February. The study used individual articles (hard news, features, commentary, letters to the editors, and editorials) on Dusit D2 hotel TI, as a unit of analysis. The study also interviewed key journalists and editors who covered the event to understand their knowledge of framing, framing considerations, and measures they would apply to bridge framing gaps. The study used a coding sheet and interview guides as the main tools to gather quantitative and qualitative data, respectively. The data analysis was carried out using descriptive analysis for quantitative data and thematic analysis for qualitative data. The study found that the responsibility frame was the major frame used. The other major frames used were human interest, crime, and conflict. The findings also indicated that the newspapers framed the terrorists as homegrown but with foreign ideologies, with some articles framing them as foreigners. It was also determined that Al-Qaeda/Al Shabab was the main organisation mentioned in the coverage of the stories. The study determined that social media, phone calls, fellow reporters and the use of television were major sources of receiving information on the terrorists’ attack at the Dusit D2 Hotel on January 16, 2019. The study concluded that the newspapers initially reported that the terror suspects were foreigners and Somalia-based in the first week of the reporting. This perception lingered on, portraying the terror suspects as foreigners, even as emerging news disproved that the suspects were Somalis or Somalia-based. The study recommends an approach reporters and editors can use to publish stories that give factual and verified data. This means that the coverage of terror-related incidences should incorporate facts, both objective and interpretive analyses, that provide accurate information. The study also recommends that the newspapers should involve terrorism experts in their future reporting stories, which will help provide solutions to issues surrounding terror attacks.