2004
Volume 38, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1384-6930
  • E-ISSN: 1875-7286

Abstract

On the (de)construction of disasters by the media: How Flemish news media select and cover international disasters

On the (de)construction of disasters by the media: How Flemish news media select and cover international disasters

News media play a basic role in giving publicity and meaning to global suffering as it is mainly through media reports that the world perceives international crises. This article focuses on the (de)construction of disasters by Flemish news media. Applying quantitative content analysis, the study reveals that 70.8% of all disasters occurring between 1986 and 2006 are neglected by the newspapers, for the large part disasters in less developed countries. Regarding coverage, proximity appears to be the guiding principle. Disasters developing in Western or high income countries are well covered while distant crises in the peripheral South are struggling to get attention, unless they affect a huge number of (Western) people. A series of in-depth interviews with Flemish journalists confirm these results. Next to proximity, journalists refer to the severity of a disaster and a number of pragmatic considerations as determining factors for selection and coverage.

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/content/journals/10.5117/2010.038.002.139
2010-06-01
2021-10-20
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