Fear of the Fear of the Flu: Assumptions About Media Effects in the 2009 Pandemic

TitleFear of the Fear of the Flu: Assumptions About Media Effects in the 2009 Pandemic
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsBjørkdahl, K, Carlsen, B
JournalScience Communication
Date Published2017
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number15528545
Keywordscrisis , H1N1 , Mass , media , NORWEGIAN , PANDEMICS , SWINE , Third
AbstractIn this article, we present a qualitative study of the Norwegian print news coverage of the 2009 pandemic. In initial research, we found fear to be a notable aspect of the coverage. In studying a relevant subsample in-depth, we discovered that, although there was no sound basis on which to make conclusions about what effects the coverage was having on the public, various actors—including media themselves—came on the mediated scene to express fears that it would create fear and panic. We argue that the mediation of the pandemic can hence be seen as a peculiar case of the “third person effect,” that is, the phenomenon that people tend to believe that other people are more severely influenced by the mass media than what they believe themselves to be. This, we suggest, has some implications for how we think about communication in future pandemics and other crises. 
NotesBjørkdahl, Kristian 1; Email Address: kristian.bjorkdahl@uni.no Carlsen, Benedicte 1; Affiliation: 1: Uni Research Rokkan Centre, Bergen, Norway; Source Info: Jun2017, Vol. 39 Issue 3, p358; Subject Term: H1N1 (2009) influenza; Subject Term: PANDEMICS; Subject Term: NORWEGIAN newspapers; Subject Term: MASS media & public opinion; Subject Term: CRISIS communication; Subject Term: MEDIA effects theory (Communication); Author-Supplied Keyword: crisis communication; Author-Supplied Keyword: media effects; Author-Supplied Keyword: pandemics; Author-Supplied Keyword: swine flu; Author-Supplied Keyword: third person effect; Number of Pages: 24p; Document Type: Article; Full Text Word Count: 10454