In this study we compare through content analysis the A (H1N1) flu coverage by two Brazilian leading TV programmes: Jornal Nacional (JN), aimed mainly at “hard news” daily broadcasting, and Fantástico,an infotainment program broadcast on Sundays. Both the “hard news” and infotainment programs’coverage peaked in May, had the number of cases or deaths caused by the new flu as the most frequent main topic and used more often as news sources governmental representatives and physicians. Fantástico coverage was more conspicuously focused on the disease spreading; more often relied on the average citizen as sources and voices; and more frequently constructed stories with personalization/human interest angle. Apparently, more than the hard news program, the infotainment program tried to create identification with ordinary people’s lives and more fully explored the dramatic potential of the spread of disease.

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Spreading news or panic?
A study case on Brazilian TV coverage of a (H1N1) 2009 influenza

Flavia Natércia da Silva Medeiros   Museum of Life, House of Oswaldo Cruz, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation

Luisa Massarani   Museum of Life, House of Oswaldo Cruz, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation

In this study we compare through content analysis the A (H1N1) flu coverage by two Brazilian leading TV programmes: Jornal Nacional (JN), aimed mainly at “hard news” daily broadcasting, and Fantástico,an infotainment program broadcast on Sundays. Both the “hard news” and infotainment programs’coverage peaked in May, had the number of cases or deaths caused by the new flu as the most frequent main topic and used more often as news sources governmental representatives and physicians. Fantástico coverage was more conspicuously focused on the disease spreading; more often relied on the average citizen as sources and voices; and more frequently constructed stories with personalization/human interest angle. Apparently, more than the hard news program, the infotainment program tried to create identification with ordinary people’s lives and more fully explored the dramatic potential of the spread of disease.

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