Remaining Vigilant Against Domestic Terrorism: Making Meaning of Counterterrorism in a National Awareness Campaign
Campbell, Thomas G.
Liu, Brooke F
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The purpose of this study was to understand how publics make meaning of terrorism and counterterrorism and the counterterrorism messages from the Department of Homeland Security's See Something, Say Something counterterrorism campaign, and if that meaning impacted their intention to act on these messages. Using the Situational Theory of Publics as the primary theoretical framework, this exploratory study took a qualitative approach; conducting in-depth interviews with both college students from a large Mid-Atlantic State University (young adult publics), and Department of Defense employees (government publics). Findings reveal that participants became more involved with the campaign messages as the problem began to impact them directly. Additionally, young adult public participants are not actively seeking out counterterrorism information, while it is a part of the day-to-day routine for government public participants. The study shows that understanding how publics are impacted by terrorism, will affect how they view and process counterterrorism messages.