Constructing identities in the media

newspaper coverage analysis of a major UK Clostridium difficile outbreak

Emma Burnett (Lead / Corresponding author), Bridget Johnston, Joanne Corlett, Nora Kearney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aim
To examine how a major Clostridium difficile outbreak in the UK was represented in the media.

Background
Clostridium difficile is a serious health care-associated infection with significant global prevalence. As major outbreaks have continued to occur worldwide over the last few decades, it has also resulted in increasing media coverage. Newspaper journalists are, however, frequently criticized for sensationalized and inaccurate reporting and alarming the public. Despite such criticisms, nothing is known about how the media frame Clostridium difficile related coverage.

Design
Qualitative interpretive descriptive study.

Method
An interpretive analysis of newspaper articles from the national press that reported about the outbreak from the first day of coverage over 3 weeks (12 June–3 July 2008).

Findings
Twenty-eight newspaper articles were included in the study from tabloids, broadsheets, a regional and a Sunday newspaper. Monster and war metaphors were frequently adopted to portray the severity of Clostridium difficile and the impact it can have on patient safety. In addition, the positioning of the affected patients, their families, healthcare professionals and the Government produced representations of victims, villains and heroes. This subsequently evoked notions of vulnerability, blame and conflict.

Conclusion
The media are and will remain critical convectors of public information and, as such, are hugely influential in risk perceptions and responses. Rather than simply dismissing media coverage, further understanding around how such stories in specific contexts are constructed and represented is needed so that it can help inform future communication and management strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1542-1552
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Volume70
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014

Fingerprint

Newspapers
Clostridium difficile
Disease Outbreaks
Thioguanine
Patient Positioning
Metaphor
Patient Safety
Cross Infection
Communication
Delivery of Health Care

Keywords

  • Clostridium difficile
  • Media
  • multidisciplinary
  • newspapers
  • Nursing
  • outbreak
  • Patient safety
  • risk communication

Cite this

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title = "Constructing identities in the media: newspaper coverage analysis of a major UK Clostridium difficile outbreak",
abstract = "AimTo examine how a major Clostridium difficile outbreak in the UK was represented in the media.BackgroundClostridium difficile is a serious health care-associated infection with significant global prevalence. As major outbreaks have continued to occur worldwide over the last few decades, it has also resulted in increasing media coverage. Newspaper journalists are, however, frequently criticized for sensationalized and inaccurate reporting and alarming the public. Despite such criticisms, nothing is known about how the media frame Clostridium difficile related coverage.DesignQualitative interpretive descriptive study.MethodAn interpretive analysis of newspaper articles from the national press that reported about the outbreak from the first day of coverage over 3 weeks (12 June–3 July 2008).FindingsTwenty-eight newspaper articles were included in the study from tabloids, broadsheets, a regional and a Sunday newspaper. Monster and war metaphors were frequently adopted to portray the severity of Clostridium difficile and the impact it can have on patient safety. In addition, the positioning of the affected patients, their families, healthcare professionals and the Government produced representations of victims, villains and heroes. This subsequently evoked notions of vulnerability, blame and conflict.ConclusionThe media are and will remain critical convectors of public information and, as such, are hugely influential in risk perceptions and responses. Rather than simply dismissing media coverage, further understanding around how such stories in specific contexts are constructed and represented is needed so that it can help inform future communication and management strategies.",
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Constructing identities in the media : newspaper coverage analysis of a major UK Clostridium difficile outbreak. / Burnett, Emma (Lead / Corresponding author); Johnston, Bridget; Corlett, Joanne; Kearney, Nora.

In: Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol. 70, No. 7, 07.2014, p. 1542-1552.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Burnett, Emma

AU - Johnston, Bridget

AU - Corlett, Joanne

AU - Kearney, Nora

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N2 - AimTo examine how a major Clostridium difficile outbreak in the UK was represented in the media.BackgroundClostridium difficile is a serious health care-associated infection with significant global prevalence. As major outbreaks have continued to occur worldwide over the last few decades, it has also resulted in increasing media coverage. Newspaper journalists are, however, frequently criticized for sensationalized and inaccurate reporting and alarming the public. Despite such criticisms, nothing is known about how the media frame Clostridium difficile related coverage.DesignQualitative interpretive descriptive study.MethodAn interpretive analysis of newspaper articles from the national press that reported about the outbreak from the first day of coverage over 3 weeks (12 June–3 July 2008).FindingsTwenty-eight newspaper articles were included in the study from tabloids, broadsheets, a regional and a Sunday newspaper. Monster and war metaphors were frequently adopted to portray the severity of Clostridium difficile and the impact it can have on patient safety. In addition, the positioning of the affected patients, their families, healthcare professionals and the Government produced representations of victims, villains and heroes. This subsequently evoked notions of vulnerability, blame and conflict.ConclusionThe media are and will remain critical convectors of public information and, as such, are hugely influential in risk perceptions and responses. Rather than simply dismissing media coverage, further understanding around how such stories in specific contexts are constructed and represented is needed so that it can help inform future communication and management strategies.

AB - AimTo examine how a major Clostridium difficile outbreak in the UK was represented in the media.BackgroundClostridium difficile is a serious health care-associated infection with significant global prevalence. As major outbreaks have continued to occur worldwide over the last few decades, it has also resulted in increasing media coverage. Newspaper journalists are, however, frequently criticized for sensationalized and inaccurate reporting and alarming the public. Despite such criticisms, nothing is known about how the media frame Clostridium difficile related coverage.DesignQualitative interpretive descriptive study.MethodAn interpretive analysis of newspaper articles from the national press that reported about the outbreak from the first day of coverage over 3 weeks (12 June–3 July 2008).FindingsTwenty-eight newspaper articles were included in the study from tabloids, broadsheets, a regional and a Sunday newspaper. Monster and war metaphors were frequently adopted to portray the severity of Clostridium difficile and the impact it can have on patient safety. In addition, the positioning of the affected patients, their families, healthcare professionals and the Government produced representations of victims, villains and heroes. This subsequently evoked notions of vulnerability, blame and conflict.ConclusionThe media are and will remain critical convectors of public information and, as such, are hugely influential in risk perceptions and responses. Rather than simply dismissing media coverage, further understanding around how such stories in specific contexts are constructed and represented is needed so that it can help inform future communication and management strategies.

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