News Media Framing and Risk Communication: A Content Analysis of British Columbia’s 2014 Measles Outbreak

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Title: News Media Framing and Risk Communication: A Content Analysis of British Columbia’s 2014 Measles Outbreak
Authors: Cochrane, Emma M.
Date: 2014-12-08
Abstract: Given their agenda setting function, the news media can play an important role in framing our understanding of health issues. Immunization in particular is considered a public health success story. Nonetheless, growing hesitancy towards immunization for a variety of reasons has resulted in outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases (VPD) across North America. Using British Columbia’s 400-case measles outbreak in 2014, the present research employs a mixed method content analysis to examine news media framing of the outbreak in the Vancouver Sun and The Vancouver Province between March 1st-May 24th 2014. Key quantitative findings from the present study suggest that the dominant attribution of blame for the measles outbreak was religion (41%), medical/science sources were overwhelmingly relied upon in the coverage (80%), a greater degree of diligence was taken to avoid false balance, and finally there was a general lack of mobilizing information provided in the coverage. Key findings from the qualitative analysis suggest that while mandatory vaccination policies were seen as a positive solution to outbreaks, they could have polarizing implications. Thus, this study supports prior research calling for a national immunization registry. The present research concludes by presenting risk communication suggestions for public health authorities and the media.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/31886
CollectionCommunication - Mémoires // Communication - Research Papers
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