The media coverage of dengue in the Portuguese press: Público, Expresso, Jornal de Notícias and Diário de Notícias

TitleThe media coverage of dengue in the Portuguese press: Público, Expresso, Jornal de Notícias and Diário de Notícias
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Araújo, R., and F. Lopes
Affiliation (1st Author)PhD Student and researcher, Communication and Society Research Centre - University of Minho
Section or WGEnvironment, Science, and Risk Communication Working Group
DateThurs 27 June
Slot CodeENVT3a
Slot Code (Keyword)ENVT3a
Time of Session14:00-15:30
RoomHelix Blue Room
Session TitleCommunicating Disasters and Environmental Problems
Submission ID5424

Over the past few years, the Portuguese press has been paying more attention to health issues. From time to time there are social alarm situations that put organized news sources into action and therefore generate a constant attention from journalists. In 2012, it was the case of dengue fever in the island of Madeira (Portugal) that caught media’s attention. We are going to study the dengue coverage in the Portuguese press through the analysis of three daily newspapers (Público, Jornal de Notícias and Diário de Notícias) and the weekly newspaper Expresso in a period of almost three months, from October 4th to December 31st 2012.  Going through 39 news articles and 110 information sources, we tried to find out whose sources journalists most listened to and the newsmaking processes behind those texts. Our research indicates that the most quoted sources were male, official and talked at a National level, and journalists also used a lot of document sources. The media relied on organized information sources that are used to talk to journalists and know their routines, and on official press releases that contributed to a reproduction of news’ content. Official sources are the most quoted ones, and their discourse dominates over the others in the news coverage of dengue. They tried to have a tranquilizing voice, despite the news being mostly negative as it was a risk situation. Although news sources seek to neutralize a risk situation, the newsmaking process constructed by journalists seems to aim at social alarm coverage.

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