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Disentangling Rhetorical Sub-Arenas of Public Health Crisis Communication: A Study of the 2014-2015 Ebola Outbreak in the News Media and Social Media in Sweden

Journal article
Authors Pavel Rodin
Marina Ghersetti
Tomas Andersson Odén
Published in Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management
Volume 27
Issue 3
Pages 237-246
ISSN 0966-0879
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Pages 237-246
Language en
Keywords Rhetorical arena; media logic; Ebola; crisis communication; news media; social media
Subject categories Communication Studies


Drawing on rhetorical arena theory, this study investigates the variations of content across communication channels (sub-arenas), guided by different media logics, during the 2014–2015 Ebola outbreak. Restricting the study to one country, Sweden, a content analysis was conducted of two national newspapers (in total 848 articles), their posts on branded Facebook pages (47), and user comments on these Facebook posts (1,661). Some conclusions to be made are, that content differed between sub-arenas, with Facebook news being more sensational and focused on human interest stories, and Facebook comments to a greater extent related to other current socio-political issues. Also, news media were more alarmist than Facebook comments, although alarmism declined on all sub-arenas as the danger became more tangible.

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