Author ORCID Identifier

Thomas Jamieson

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How does news media respond to health emergencies abroad? From 2015 to 2018, Zika virus disease spread rapidly throughout Latin America before arriving in the continental US. Despite risks to adults and newborns, it is unclear how media coverage responded and framed the risk for its audience. In this article, we argue that while frequency of coverage was responsive to infections, its content failed to promote proactive health behavior. To assess these claims, we analyze each article (442) dealing with Zika virus published between 2015-2018 by the New York Times. We find that the amount of coverage reflected infections but did not change once the virus arrived in the US. Furthermore, content analysis using the LIWC text analysis program reveals that coverage emphasized differences between communities (those affected and those at home) and that present and past time orientations dominated coverage as opposed to future time orientations.


This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Our Issue or their issue? Media coverage and framing of the Zika virus epidemic in Distasters, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

Available for download on Saturday, July 01, 2023