Insights into the Coverage of the Fukushima Nuclear Crisis in Japan’s English-Language Newspapers

Abstract

In this presentation, Ms Finn-Maeda outlines the initial findings of the research she has conducted over the past two years for her Master of Arts in Communication degree. Her dissertation has examined the reporting of the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan’s English-language newspapers, assessing whether the coverage could be said to have been alarming, reassuring, or relatively balanced and neutral. Much criticism was lobbied against the coverage of the Fukushima nuclear crisis by the media in general, with accusations of both reckless fear-mongering and opaque under-reporting. In light of this, Ms Finn-Maeda decided to examine the coverage in the print editions of The Japan Times and The Daily Yomiuri (now The Japan News) between March and May, 2011. The methodology used by Ms Finn-Maeda comprises a mixed-method content analysis, with both a quantitative coding component and a qualitative critical discourse analysis component. Presenting the data gleaned from her research, Ms Finn-Maeda compares and contrasts the coverage of the nuclear crisis by the two newspapers, focusing on the framing, use of sources (voices), common keywords, the representation of the energy and political authorities involved, and the reporting of radiation information. The implications of these findings are briefly discussed, and a case is made for further research. In the presentation, Ms Finn-Maeda also provides a brief overview of the existing literature on the media’s coverage of both the 2011 nuclear crisis and previous nuclear crises, drawing on fields as diverse as risk communication, environmental reporting, and critical discourse studies.



Author Information
Carey Finn-Maeda, University of South Africa, South Africa

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2015
Stream: Media Disaster Coverage

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