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This essay aims to provide a timeline of important events and to describe and analyze three media artifacts that covered the Beslan school hostage crisis: 1) Peter Baker and Susan B. Glasser (2004)’s newspaper article that has an online version; 2) 48 Hours of CBS News’ video clip of the negotiation and release of some hostages; and 3) David Satter (2009)’s commentary, five years after the hostage incident. These media artifacts demonstrate some differences in how they labeled the hostage takers and similarities in their emotional rendering of the events, while one of them underscored that the blame of the crisis’ mishandling should be placed solely on the shoulders of the Russian government. Timeline of the Beslan Hostage Crisis On September 1, 2004, at around 5:30 am, a group of hostage takers seized Beslan’s School No. 1 and took hundreds of students, teachers, and parents as hostages. They exchanged fires with the police during that morning. Baker and Glasser (2004) described the hostage takers as “guerillas” or “fighters,” from Chechnya and other nations, while the Russian government called them “terrorists” (p.1). ...
On Friday, September 3, 2004, hostage takers allowed emergencies ministry workers to approach the dead bodies of some hostages who were lying in front of the school. At the same time, two hours before the bloody battle between the guerillas and the government’s troops, the president of North Ossetia, Alexander Dzasokhov, and another politician called Chechen leader Akhmed Zakayev in London. Zakayev, who stood for Aslan Maskhadov, the Chechen separatist leader and deposed president, said that they wanted Maskhadov’s help in negotiating with the guerillas because their demands were related to the Chechnya conflict (Baker & Glasser, 2004, p.2). Maskhadov was prepared to meet the rebels for the release of the hostages and the discussion of the latter’s demands. However, at around 10 to 10:30 AM, two explosions were heard inside the school. The news differed on what caused these explosions, although the ultimate result was the collapse of the gym’s roof, where most of the hostages were, the running away of hostages as shootings ensued, the attack of the Special Forces on the gym, and the subsequent battle between the army and the rebels (Baker & Glasser, 2004, p.2; The Guardian, 2004). Fighting occurred until evening, but ended at around 8 PM. On the dawn of September 4, President Vladimir Putin visited some of the wounded victims (The Guardian, 2004). Analysis of Media Coverage The first media artifact to be analyzed is the print news article (available online) written by Baker and Glasser (2004). The media sample matters because it provides vital information about the hostage crisis and it shows the difference between news language and political language. In terms of sources, Baker and Glasser (2004) relied on themselves as eyewitnesses, law ...Show more
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Summary

Three Media Artifacts: The Coverage and Reporting of the Beslan School Hostage Crisis Name Instructor Class 1 October 2013 Introduction At around 5:30 AM of September 1, 2004, an unknown fully-armed group seized Beslan’s School No. 1 in Beslan, Russia and took the school’s inhabitants as their hostages…
Media Analysis
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