A framing analysis of the British news media’s coverage of the Maldives during the tsunami: Towards a crisis communications model

Aminath Ahmed Shihab (2009). A framing analysis of the British news media’s coverage of the Maldives during the tsunami: Towards a crisis communications model PhD Thesis, School of Tourism, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Aminath Ahmed Shihab
Thesis Title A framing analysis of the British news media’s coverage of the Maldives during the tsunami: Towards a crisis communications model
School, Centre or Institute School of Tourism
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2009-08
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr. Charles Arcodia
Dr. Noel Scott
Total pages 223
Total colour pages 33
Total black and white pages 190
Subjects 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Abstract/Summary This thesis examines the diversity of print news media frames during different stages of a crisis to enhance a model of media crisis communication, based on a framing analysis of the British print news media’s coverage of the Maldives after the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster of 2004. The tourism sector is vulnerable to disasters and crises with a series of recent events ranging from natural disasters and epidemics to terrorists attacks, many of which have had devastating impacts on the economy of destinations. In 2004, one such event of significance for the tourism industry was the 9.2 magnitude earthquake that hit the coast of northwest Sumatra, unleashing a tsunami that destroyed coastal areas in the Indian Ocean region including the Maldives. This disaster led to extensive media coverage, and has highlighted the importance of immediate and strategic communications after a crisis such as this tsunami. This research adopts the theory of framing and applies it during a tourism crisis situation. There is a lack of knowledge about the process of framing in crisis communications in the tourism literature, especially as it relates to the implications for planning and managing a tourism destination during and after a crisis situation. Previous literature on the framing by the media of tourism events and issues has focused on travel articles, advertising and promotion messages. This thesis finds that framing theory is also useful to identify how the news media responds during a crisis and how that knowledge could help improve tourism crisis management. This study analyzes the print news media regarding Maldives tourism in the aftermath of the tsunami crisis, and evaluates the diversity of frames used by the British news media in different stages of a crisis to enable the enhancement of a media crisis communications model in a tourism related context. This research is underpinned by constructivism with an interpretive orientation with the strategy of inquiry based on a qualitative case study method, and aims to understand aspects of the social and cultural contexts interrelating media and tourism. The framing analysis uses newspaper articles from the British press between December 26, 2004 and December 31, 2005 inclusive. The research uses content analysis of the news stories within a framing analysis paradigm, identifying both the diversity of frames used at different times after a disaster or crisis and the media phases that correspond to the last four stages of Faulkner’s (2001) tourism disaster management framework. The framing analysis reveals how the frames change during the different stages of the crisis and contributes to theory development in the areas of media effects, news discourse and crisis management as well as offering practical advice on tourism destination marketing during a crisis situation. The findings from this research contribute to the theory of framing by finding that during the coverage of crises where events are changing rapidly the media frames also change and different frames become predominant during the stages of a crisis. The findings also contribute to the literature on news discourse by providing evidence on the evolution of news discourse concerning a crisis situation over an extended period. By examining the news media crisis communication language as used at various stages of a crisis, the findings reveal that the media’s response and the frames they use differ over time as a crisis evolves, and that this enables the identification of different media roles during a crisis and crisis communication action stages. The result is a model that contributes to theoretical knowledge in media effects research, news discourse and crisis communications.
Keyword crisis, crisis communications, framing, tourism management, tsunami, Maldives
Additional Notes Colour Pages: 18-20,30,65,72,73,82,94,96,103,123,128,130,131,133,138,147,148,150,152,155,158-164,167,169,173,194 Landscape Pages: 77-79,90,91,107,108

 
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Created: Sat, 20 Feb 2010, 16:57:30 EST by Ms Aminath Shihab on behalf of Library - Information Access Service