Chapter

News Media Hype?

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Abstract

A common theme in the stories of the people we interviewed was the action and reputation of news media, including printed, digital, and television news. These media were often the first source of knowledge about the emerging pandemic and for some the basis for adoption of a new at risk identity. This chapter examines a key finding that individuals regarded the news media to have hyped the pandemic alongside textual analyses from other scholars that shows news media in 2009 to have been mainly fact driven and not inflammatory. The chapter takes up this apparent paradox in light of audience expectations shaped by previous experiences of pandemic narratives and the large volume of news reporting during the period. The chapter explains how individuals were skeptical of media and therefore cautiously took on their new pandemic risk identities through what we have framed as “persuasion” narrative.

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