The purpose of this paper is to examine how the mediatisation of terror attacks affects the brand image of tourism cities.
Informed by theories of mediatisation and space, the study analyses two different types of terror attacks in Sweden during 2017 as media events. The focus of analysis is on identifying spatial and temporal patterns that underpin the narrative rhythm of the discussions of the events on Twitter and online news platforms.
The findings demonstrate that the unfolding of the events can be divided into three phases of varying intensity in rhythm and implications for city brand image. The manifestation of an imaginary terror attack in a digital environment had a greater impact on the narratives of the city than an actual one.
Rythmanalysis is introduced as a useful device to examine how urban space is mediatised through social media and online news flows.
The study contributes with novel knowledge on the mediatisation of city space on digital media platforms in a post-truth world. It shows that city administrations need to deal with both real and imaginary terror attacks, especially when there is an already established negative image of the city.