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Content analysis of press coverage during the H1N1 influenza pandemic in Germany 2009-2010.

Husemann S, Fischer F - BMC Public Health (2015)

Bottom Line: This study indicates that media awareness seems to be strongly related to the actual situation in the pandemic, because changes in the number of infected people were associated with nearly identical changes in the number of newspaper articles.The extent of information provided differed during the pandemic.As current research indicates, the use of message characteristics such as fear appeals and self-efficacy, which were also included in the analysed newspaper articles, can help to make health messages effective.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Public Health Medicine, School of Public Health, Bielefeld University, P.O. Box 100 131, 33501, Bielefeld, Germany. Sabine-Husemann@gmx.de.

ABSTRACT

Background: The H1N1 influenza pandemic occurred in Germany between April 2009 and August 2010. Pandemics often lead to uncertainty amongst the public and so risk communication on health-related issues is one of the key areas of action for health authorities and other healthcare institutions. The mass media may contribute to risk communication, so this study analysed press coverage during the H1N1 pandemic in Germany.

Methods: A comprehensive analysis of the press coverage during the H1N1 pandemic was conducted in two steps. First, a temporal analysis was carried out of newspaper articles over the entire course of the pandemic, a total of 15,353 articles. The newspaper articles were obtained from the database Nexis. The total number of articles about the influenza pandemic during each individual week was plotted against the number of incident influenza cases during that week. Second, a quantitative content analysis of 140 newspaper articles from selected dates was conducted.

Results: This study indicates that media awareness seems to be strongly related to the actual situation in the pandemic, because changes in the number of infected people were associated with nearly identical changes in the number of newspaper articles. Few articles contained information on the agent of the influenza or support measures. Information on vaccination was included in 32.9% of all articles. Almost half of the articles (48.6%) used case reports. Fear appeals were used in only 10.7% of the newspaper articles; 32.9% of the articles contained the message characteristic "self-efficacy".

Conclusions: The newspaper articles that were analysed in the content analysis included different information and message characteristics. The extent of information provided differed during the pandemic. As current research indicates, the use of message characteristics such as fear appeals and self-efficacy, which were also included in the analysed newspaper articles, can help to make health messages effective.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Number of newspaper articles and number of cases of disease throughout the course of the pandemic in 2009 and 2010.
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Fig2: Number of newspaper articles and number of cases of disease throughout the course of the pandemic in 2009 and 2010.

Mentions: FigureĀ 2 shows the time course of the number of influenza cases and press coverage throughout the pandemic, and highlights some events that may have increased the likelihood of media awareness. Changes in the number of influenza cases were associated with nearly identical changes in the number of newspaper articles. This suggests that media awareness and press coverage was strongly related to the actual situation. During the 24th calendar week, the first influenza cases were reported in Germany. However, newspaper articles about influenza had appeared on 27 April 2009 (calendar week 18), before the first cases were reported in Germany. During the 22nd calendar week, the number of newspaper articles initially increased. It was during this period that pandemic phase 6 was declared by the WHO. From calendar week 40 to 46, more newspaper articles about influenza appeared, the number of disease cases increased, and plans for vaccination began. Calendar week 46 saw a peak in the number of both cases and newspaper articles. After this week, the number of both steadily declined to reach a comparatively low level by 2010 calendar week 9, where it remained.Figure 2


Content analysis of press coverage during the H1N1 influenza pandemic in Germany 2009-2010.

Husemann S, Fischer F - BMC Public Health (2015)

Number of newspaper articles and number of cases of disease throughout the course of the pandemic in 2009 and 2010.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4404007&req=5

Fig2: Number of newspaper articles and number of cases of disease throughout the course of the pandemic in 2009 and 2010.
Mentions: FigureĀ 2 shows the time course of the number of influenza cases and press coverage throughout the pandemic, and highlights some events that may have increased the likelihood of media awareness. Changes in the number of influenza cases were associated with nearly identical changes in the number of newspaper articles. This suggests that media awareness and press coverage was strongly related to the actual situation. During the 24th calendar week, the first influenza cases were reported in Germany. However, newspaper articles about influenza had appeared on 27 April 2009 (calendar week 18), before the first cases were reported in Germany. During the 22nd calendar week, the number of newspaper articles initially increased. It was during this period that pandemic phase 6 was declared by the WHO. From calendar week 40 to 46, more newspaper articles about influenza appeared, the number of disease cases increased, and plans for vaccination began. Calendar week 46 saw a peak in the number of both cases and newspaper articles. After this week, the number of both steadily declined to reach a comparatively low level by 2010 calendar week 9, where it remained.Figure 2

Bottom Line: This study indicates that media awareness seems to be strongly related to the actual situation in the pandemic, because changes in the number of infected people were associated with nearly identical changes in the number of newspaper articles.The extent of information provided differed during the pandemic.As current research indicates, the use of message characteristics such as fear appeals and self-efficacy, which were also included in the analysed newspaper articles, can help to make health messages effective.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Public Health Medicine, School of Public Health, Bielefeld University, P.O. Box 100 131, 33501, Bielefeld, Germany. Sabine-Husemann@gmx.de.

ABSTRACT

Background: The H1N1 influenza pandemic occurred in Germany between April 2009 and August 2010. Pandemics often lead to uncertainty amongst the public and so risk communication on health-related issues is one of the key areas of action for health authorities and other healthcare institutions. The mass media may contribute to risk communication, so this study analysed press coverage during the H1N1 pandemic in Germany.

Methods: A comprehensive analysis of the press coverage during the H1N1 pandemic was conducted in two steps. First, a temporal analysis was carried out of newspaper articles over the entire course of the pandemic, a total of 15,353 articles. The newspaper articles were obtained from the database Nexis. The total number of articles about the influenza pandemic during each individual week was plotted against the number of incident influenza cases during that week. Second, a quantitative content analysis of 140 newspaper articles from selected dates was conducted.

Results: This study indicates that media awareness seems to be strongly related to the actual situation in the pandemic, because changes in the number of infected people were associated with nearly identical changes in the number of newspaper articles. Few articles contained information on the agent of the influenza or support measures. Information on vaccination was included in 32.9% of all articles. Almost half of the articles (48.6%) used case reports. Fear appeals were used in only 10.7% of the newspaper articles; 32.9% of the articles contained the message characteristic "self-efficacy".

Conclusions: The newspaper articles that were analysed in the content analysis included different information and message characteristics. The extent of information provided differed during the pandemic. As current research indicates, the use of message characteristics such as fear appeals and self-efficacy, which were also included in the analysed newspaper articles, can help to make health messages effective.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus