Press and social media reaction to ideologically inspired murder: The case of Lee Rigby

T. McEnery, M. McGlashan, R. Love

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article analyses reaction to the ideologically inspired murder of a soldier, Lee Rigby, in central London by two converts to Islam, Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo. The focus of the analysis is upon the contrast between how the event was reacted to by the UK National Press and on social media. To explore this contrast, we undertook a corpus-assisted discourse analysis to look at three periods during the event: the initial attack, the verdict of the subsequent trial and the sentencing of the murderers. To do this, we constructed and analysed corpora of press and Twitter coverage of the attack, the conviction of the suspects and the sentencing of them. The analysis shows that social media and the press are intertwined, with the press exerting a notable influence through social media, but social media not always being led by the press. When looking at social media reaction to such an event as this, analysts should always consider the role that the press are playing in forming that discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-259
JournalDiscourse and Communication
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2015

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