conflict & communication online, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2014
ISSN 1618-0747




Stephanie Thiel & Wilhelm Kempf
Audience reactions to peace journalism: How supporters and critics of the Israeli policy process escalation and de-escalation oriented media frames

This paper reports on an experiment that uses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a natural laboratory for studying how recipients make sense of escalation vs. de-escalation oriented news articles. The results of the study indicate that media frames and individual frames have both a direct effect and complex interaction effects on participants’ text understanding. Particularly the effect of media war frames diminishes if they are incongruent with participants’ individual frames, and the propaganda function of reports about violence and human casualties can be neutralized if framed according to a peace frame. If participants had a priori positioned themselves in favor of the perpetrator, they may produce reactance, however.


  englischer Volltext  

The authors:
Stephanie Thiel earned her Diploma in Psychology and Master’s degree in Criminology from the Hamburg University, Germany. A PhD candidate in the Peace Research Group (Projektgruppe Friedensforschung) at the University of Konstanz, she currently works as a psychologist at the university hospital in Giessen. Her fields of interest include anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim sentiments, anomie, corruption, white-collar crime and political economy.

Wilhelm Kempf is Professor emeritus of Psychological Methodology and Head of the Peace Research Group (Projektgruppe Friedensforschung) at the University of Konstanz, Germany. Since 2002 he is the editor of conflict & communication online ( His fields of research include quantitative and qualitative research methodology, nonviolent conflict resolution, peace journalism and the construction of social reality by the mass media. He currently works on a research project on “Criticizing Israel, coming to terms with German history and differentiating aspects of modern anti-Semitism”.