alexa Researching risk and the media
Social & Political Sciences

Social & Political Sciences

Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

Author(s): Jenny Kitzinger

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The media are crucial players in the construction of, and communication about, risk. Yet their role is often under-theorised, and sometimes misrepresented or parodied. In particular, the media are accused of routine sensationalism. Journalists are blamed for exaggerating risk, 'whipping up hysteria' and distorting reality. Academic studies of the media, however, suggest a more complex picture. The first half of this article reflects on the theoretical and methodological considerations which inform studies of 'risk reporting' and highlights some of the key questions when designing or assessing such research. The second half of the article draws out some common findings about how 'risk reporting' operates, focusing, in particular, on what we know about 'news values' and media production processes. It outlines the factors influencing media coverage of risk: from the organisation and resources of different source agencies through to the news gathering routines of journalists, and reflects on the 'cultural givens' which inform representations of diverse hazards

This article was published in Health,Risk and Society and referenced in Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

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