Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management

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Volume 24 Issue 2 (June 2016), Pages 59-122

Media Frames across Stages of Health Crisis: A Crisis Management Approach to News Coverage of Flu Pandemic (pages 95-106)

Dividing a crisis management process into three stages, this study examined news coverage of swine flu crisis in terms of news frames, mortality exemplars, vaccine problems, evaluation approaches to risk magnitudes and news sources. Results revealed that various framing strategies were used in news media at different stages of the flu crisis. The frames of health risk, societal problems, political/legal issues and prevention/health education were mostly used at the pre‐crisis stage, while the medical/scientific frame was regularly utilized at the post‐crisis stage to highlight medical treatment and scientific research. The evaluation approaches were also employed differently. The qualitative approach was mostly used at the pre‐crisis stage, while the quantitative and statistical approaches were applied frequently at the post‐crisis stage. Health professionals were widely cited as news sources at each stage to increase public awareness of crisis severity, and government officials and politicians repeatedly appeared to function strategically toward the achievement of public‐institution effectiveness at the pre‐crisis stage.

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