Framing a Health Crisis

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In this study, a framing analysis was conducted on press conferences by the Dutch government on Covid-19, and on the following news reporting by Volkskrant and Telegraaf. Previous scholars have argued that factors such as partisan bias, professional norms in journalism, or the power of the source, influence whether journalists copy frames from their sources. In addition, some studies suggest that journalists are more likely to adopt frames from their sources in times of immediate crisis or when a topic is unfamiliar and unexpected. However, little is known of the effect of immediate crisis on the frame building process. The results of this study show that in the first few weeks of Covid-19, newspapers seemed to follow some of the framing efforts by the government quite directly when it came to the attribution of responsibility frame and the morality frame. However, the results for other frames used in this period are more ambiguous. Journalists managed to include a large number of frames themselves, such as the politicization frame or the economic consequences frame. Also, they seemed to attribute blame and responsibility mostly towards the government. This indicates that although some government sponsored frames were adopted quite directly in the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, the Dutch press also managed to keep a relatively independent position and introduced their own arguments and frames. Moreover, the results showed that no real political media bias was visible in the Dutch reporting on Covid-19.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen