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The impact of the Ebola Virus and rare diseases in the media and the perception of risk in Spain

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This study analysed the role played by the media in social perceptions about the risk of infection from rare diseases and Ebola. For this purpose, a content analysis was carried out on 479 news items on Ebola in 2014 and on 28 news items on rare diseases in 2013, all coming from the most widely circulated newspapers in Spain: El País and El Mundo. The findings enabled us to state that the media play an important role in the perception of social risk from both these issues (Ebola–Rare Diseases): on the one hand, because of intrinsic factors of the media themselves and journalistic routines and, on the other hand, because of the role played by politicians as an external factor. In addition, news about the spreading and the fatal consequences of Ebola lead to it being considered as a ‘terrible risk’ disease, whereas news about other rare diseases and the damage they can cause define them as of ‘unknown risk’.
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Keywords: Ebola; Spain; media impact; promotion health; rare diseases; risk perception

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Universidad de Alicante 2: Universidad de Málaga

Publication date: October 1, 2016

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  • The Catalan Journal of Communication and Cultural Studies (CJCS) is committed to publishing research and theoretical articles in the fields of media studies, popular culture and cinema, public relations and advertising studies, social communication, new media, language uses in the media, communication and cultural policies, social and national identities, gender studies, sports and leisure, tourism and heritage, among other related issues. CJCS publishes double blind peer-reviewed articles and its aims and scope cover not only Catalan media and cultural systems but also other social contexts.
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