maandag 24 oktober 2005

Media-Hype. Self-Reinforcing News Waves, Journalistic Standards and the Construction of Social Problems.

European Journal of Communication Copyright © 2005 SAGE Publications
(London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi),

Vol 20(4): 508–530. [10.1177/0267323105058254]

Peter L.M. Vasterman
  1. faculty of the Master of Journalism programme at the Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam, Turfdraagsterpad 9, 1012 XT Amsterdam, The Netherlands,


News often seems to develop a life of its own, creating huge news waves on one specific story or topic. The term ‘media-hype’ is often used in popular debate about this kind of self-inflating media coverage, but the concept has never made it into the scientific discourse, mainly because of its implicit value judgements. However, by excluding criteria like ‘exaggeration’ and ‘distortion’ and by focusing on the process of amplification and magnification during these media-generated news waves, the concept can become a valuable tool for news research. A theoretical framework of media-hype is developed in this article, not only to analyse the specific dynamic of media-hype, but also to deal with the role it plays in the process of framing and social amplification. A content analysis of media coverage of ‘senseless’ street violence in the Netherlands is used to evaluate the consequences of media-hype for the role the media play in society.