woensdag 12 juni 2013

Pandemic alarm in the Dutch media

Pandemic alarm in the Dutch media: Media coverage of the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) pandemic and the role of the expert sources

European Journal of Communication June 10. 
Published online before print June 10, 2013, doi: 10.1177/0267323113486235
Peter LM Vasterman
University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Nel Ruigrok
Netherlands News Monitor

In 2009, the outbreak of a new flu virus in Mexico developed into the first pandemic in more than 40 years. For years the world had been warned about such a catastrophic global epidemic, but influenza A/H1N1 (also called swine flu or Mexican flu) turned out to be even milder than the common flu. This study is based on a content analysis of newspaper and television coverage from April to December 2009, and focuses on the volume and the content of the news coverage of the pandemic in the Netherlands. The research shows that media coverage was intensive and alarming, especially during the first and third stages of the epidemic. As it turns out, news sources had about the same share of alarming messages as the media. Therefore, although the media were indeed alarming in their coverage, they were so on the authority of their sources, the experts and the public health officials.

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