239749 Diagnostic or Prognostic? Analyzing the News Framing of H1N1 Coverage in Korea

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Myoungsoon You , Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
Youngkee Ju , School of Communication, Hallym University, Chuncheon, South Korea
Purpose: How the news media cover emerging infectious diseases should be critical in guiding the public risk perception. This study aimed to identify the major frames employed in Korean news media's coverage of H1N1: diagnostic vs. prognostic frame. The two frames in the news releases by a Korean public health organization were also examined.

Methods: The study population included 421 news articles by Chosun-Ilbo from April to December in 2009 and 162 news releases by the Korean Center for Disease Control (KCDC) for the same period. The newspaper has the largest circulation in Korea. Diagnostic framing refers to focusing on identifying and estimating medical and socio-economic damage by H1N1 while prognostic framing concerns about prevention and treatment at either an individual level or societal one. The main contents expected for the two framings were operationalized.

Results: The average monthly number of news articles with a diagnostic frame was 31.9, while those with a prognostic frame amounted to just 14.8. (p=.046). This difference means that the paper focused more on the diagnosis of the current health problem rather than searching for ways of prevention and treatment. The news release by KCDC did not show any significant difference between the two frames. Also, the numeral difference between the news articles and news releases was significant in the case of diagnostic framing (p=.013), while prognostic framing did not bring about significant difference between news articles and releases.

Conclusions: Journalistic efforts to balance diagnostic and prognostic framing in covering emerging infectious diseases are encouraged.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1.Identify the characteristics of the Korean news media’s coverage of H1N1 2.Discuss the ways to improve health journalism in its covering emerging infectious diseases.

Keywords: Emerging Diseases, Media Message

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: One of us is an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Public Health at Seoul National University in Korea. The other author is an assistant professor in the School of Communication at Hallym University in Korea. We have been working on identifying current states of health journalism and seeking alternatives to improve the quality of health journalism in Korea. This is our first time to present in APHA.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.