Preliminary Findings for the Hostage Situation Media Assessment Scale 2010 (v1.0)

If you haven’t seen tried to answer the scale then give it a go here. The short URL is

Here’s the link to Bob Steele’s original post that inspired this scale.

Here’s what I emailed Mallary Tenore who wrote about the scale in Poynter Online:

“Hi Mallary,

Thanks for the story – the hostage situation has grown bigger than life since then – there are now
protests in Hong Kong about the way the whole situation was handled.

Here’s what I got so far:

Using a nonpaired Student’s t-test I’ve found out that Questions 3, 8, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 28 (7 questions out of 28) were statistically significant when you compare the responses from non-media vs. media responders. In other words – for those questions – the answers/views of the non-media responders were different from the media and CANNOT be attributed to CHANCE.

Running a Factor Analysis on the 28 questions I found the following:

Factor Analysis

Extracting 4 Factors I was able to find the following Factors with the corresponding Eigenvalues etc.

Factor      Eigenvalue     %Total Variance    Cumulative Eigenvalue     Cumulative %

1           14.58380            52.08498           14.58380                          52.08498

2             2.16560             7.73429            16.74930                          59.81927

3             1.72713             6.16830            18.47652                          65.98758

4             1.2351               4.41117            19.71165                          70.39875

These 4 Factors account for 70.39875% of the results of the scale and by using a Varimax Normalized Rotation, we can group the following questions under the following factors with the following loadings

Factor 1 (factor loadings >.0.70), 6 Questions

Question#       Factor Loadings

9                0.750468

23              0.801189

24              0.778098

25              0.833161

26              0.804350

27              0.742612

Factor 2 (factor loadings >.0.70), 3 Questions

Question#       Factor Loadings

3                0.710884

4                0.704617

15              0.749176

Factor 3 (factor loadings >.0.70), 1 Question

Question#       Factor Loading

16               0.825525

Factor 4 (factor loadings >.0.70), 1 Question

Question#       Factor Loading

19               0.739767

Total Questions: 11 out of the original 28 which can account for 70.39875% of the results of the scale.

I need to stare at Factors 1 and Factor 2 for a couple of hours for me to be able to name that grouping.

This also means that I can reduce the original 28-item scale into an 11-item scale using only

Question #  3, 4, 9, 15, 16, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27 and still have 70.39875% of the results of the

original scale.



Here’s the questions by grouped by factor loadings:

Factor 1
9. The media understood that they are generally are not trained in negotiation techniques, and that one wrong question or inappropriate word could jeopardize someone’s life.
23. The media were very cautious in any reporting on the medical condition of hostages until after a crisis was concluded.
24. The media were cautious when interviewing hostages or released hostages while the crisis continued.
25. The media exercised care when interviewing family members or friends of those involved in standoff situations.
26. The media made sure that their interviews legitimately advanced the story for the public and did not simply conduct the interview/s for the shock value of the emotions conveyed.
27. The media made sure that their interviews legitimately advanced the story for the public and did not simply conduct the interview/s to serve as a conduit for the interviewee/s to transmit messages to specific individuals.

Factor 2

3. The journalists fought the urge to become a player in any standoff, hostage situation, or terrorist incident.
4. The journalists were only personally involved only as a last resort and with the explicit approval of top news management.
15. The media asks if the value of a live, on-the-scene report is really justifiable compared to the harm that could occur.

Factor 3
16. The media gave no information, factual or speculative, about a hostage taker’s mental condition, state of mind, or reasons for actions while the standoff was in progress.

Factor 4
19. The media understood that as bizarre or ridiculous (or even legitimate) as such demands may be, it is important that negotiators take all demands seriously.

If you have any ideas on how what to call the group of questions for Factor 1 and for Factor 2 please buzz me at @pageman – I’ll make sure you get the credit if I do use the grouping.


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