Guy Van Vlierden notes that at the current time in terrorism studies, journalists are finding a lot of primary material, yet they come to it without background knowledge. This is where journalists can come together with researchers and analysts, who can help provide crucial context.
For example, there have been repeated instances of statements on Telegram and other social media channels apparently showing jihadist groups threatening Western countries, when in fact these statements were from individuals, not organizations.
This is not limited to reporting or academic interests, either. In the Netherlands, journalists reported that suspects had joined a terrorist group, when in fact they had joined a rebel group, and in Belgium a woman was indicted for membership of the Islamic State (ISIS), when it was a jihadist group fighting ISIS that she had joined. Law enforcement should cooperate with researchers more closely to ensure that the facts they use to prosecute are accurate.
Cooperation between academics, journalists, and even high-knowledge amateurs is essential in the terrorism field. This does not only apply to jihadism. Such cooperative habits will be needed going forward as the far-right rises in the West.