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postgraduate thesis: Media reporting of the 2009 influenza pandemic in Hong Kong : what do volume of coverage, efficacy information, and news frames tell about health risk?

TitleMedia reporting of the 2009 influenza pandemic in Hong Kong : what do volume of coverage, efficacy information, and news frames tell about health risk?
Authors
Advisors
Issue Date2013
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Kwok, L. [郭麗儀]. (2013). Media reporting of the 2009 influenza pandemic in Hong Kong : what do volume of coverage, efficacy information, and news frames tell about health risk?. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5177341
AbstractEmerging infectious diseases are one of the growing risks the global community faces. From recent experiences of the bird flu and SARS outbreaks, we have learned how quickly and broadly a virus could spread, and how great the impact it could have on our lives. The outbreaks have highlighted the importance of risk communication. The media, as a major source of health information for the public, has been recognized as an important public health tool for communicating health risk during a pandemic. However, to what extent the media can help during an outbreak and what impact news coverage can have on the public is not clear. While many risk communication research related to infectious diseases focus on the public’s perception and responses to risk, related studies of news media content from a public health perspective are comparatively few. Existing studies generally focus on particular aspects of media coverage, such as sensationalism and the socio-cultural effects of the coverage. Findings from these studies are diverse. Also, most studies look at the English-language media, and studies on the Chinese-language media are sparse. This study examines how and what the news media reported about the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, using Hong Kong’s Chinese-language media coverage as a case. Based on content analysis and news frame analysis, and the concepts of perceived severity and efficacy in risk message process theories, an analytical scheme was constructed to examine to what extent the media provided “useful” information to the public, and how this information was presented. The analysis of newspaper content on swine flu focused on three aspects: Firstly, to examine the volume of coverage related to the pandemic and the relationship between the reporting trends and the disease’s development; secondly, to identify information about disease prevention measures presented in the news content; and thirdly, to describe how the media portrayed the new H1N1 vaccine, in an attempt to draw inferences about the public’s response to the vaccine. Results showed that the news reporting trend had no relationship with the infection case numbers. What triggered the peaks of coverage were event-oriented and government policy-related developments rather than case numbers. Content analysis showed that only a small proportion of the news stories presented health information, with particular prevention measures mentioned frequently but with limited explanation for how and why to do it. Frame analysis showed that the selected newspapers differed in framing the new vaccine. While the tabloid-styled papers tended to use more disfavor-vaccine frame, the up-market newspapers tended to use more favour-vaccine frame. Due to the limitation of the theoretical framework that this study is based on, it is not able to link the findings of the news content with the findings of the existing studies on public’s perception to the disease and related issues. However, the findings can provide an account of some characteristics of the news coverage of the Hong Kong Chinese-language media during a global public health crisis, which may serve as primary data for further study.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectHealth risk communication - China - Hong Kong
Health in mass media
Dept/ProgramJournalism and Media Studies Centre
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/196462

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorAbraham, T-
dc.contributor.advisorChan, YY-
dc.contributor.authorKwok, Lai-yi-
dc.contributor.author郭麗儀-
dc.date.accessioned2014-04-11T23:14:27Z-
dc.date.available2014-04-11T23:14:27Z-
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.identifier.citationKwok, L. [郭麗儀]. (2013). Media reporting of the 2009 influenza pandemic in Hong Kong : what do volume of coverage, efficacy information, and news frames tell about health risk?. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5177341-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/196462-
dc.description.abstractEmerging infectious diseases are one of the growing risks the global community faces. From recent experiences of the bird flu and SARS outbreaks, we have learned how quickly and broadly a virus could spread, and how great the impact it could have on our lives. The outbreaks have highlighted the importance of risk communication. The media, as a major source of health information for the public, has been recognized as an important public health tool for communicating health risk during a pandemic. However, to what extent the media can help during an outbreak and what impact news coverage can have on the public is not clear. While many risk communication research related to infectious diseases focus on the public’s perception and responses to risk, related studies of news media content from a public health perspective are comparatively few. Existing studies generally focus on particular aspects of media coverage, such as sensationalism and the socio-cultural effects of the coverage. Findings from these studies are diverse. Also, most studies look at the English-language media, and studies on the Chinese-language media are sparse. This study examines how and what the news media reported about the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, using Hong Kong’s Chinese-language media coverage as a case. Based on content analysis and news frame analysis, and the concepts of perceived severity and efficacy in risk message process theories, an analytical scheme was constructed to examine to what extent the media provided “useful” information to the public, and how this information was presented. The analysis of newspaper content on swine flu focused on three aspects: Firstly, to examine the volume of coverage related to the pandemic and the relationship between the reporting trends and the disease’s development; secondly, to identify information about disease prevention measures presented in the news content; and thirdly, to describe how the media portrayed the new H1N1 vaccine, in an attempt to draw inferences about the public’s response to the vaccine. Results showed that the news reporting trend had no relationship with the infection case numbers. What triggered the peaks of coverage were event-oriented and government policy-related developments rather than case numbers. Content analysis showed that only a small proportion of the news stories presented health information, with particular prevention measures mentioned frequently but with limited explanation for how and why to do it. Frame analysis showed that the selected newspapers differed in framing the new vaccine. While the tabloid-styled papers tended to use more disfavor-vaccine frame, the up-market newspapers tended to use more favour-vaccine frame. Due to the limitation of the theoretical framework that this study is based on, it is not able to link the findings of the news content with the findings of the existing studies on public’s perception to the disease and related issues. However, the findings can provide an account of some characteristics of the news coverage of the Hong Kong Chinese-language media during a global public health crisis, which may serve as primary data for further study.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subject.lcshHealth risk communication - China - Hong Kong-
dc.subject.lcshHealth in mass media-
dc.titleMedia reporting of the 2009 influenza pandemic in Hong Kong : what do volume of coverage, efficacy information, and news frames tell about health risk?-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5177341-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineJournalism and Media Studies Centre-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5177341-

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