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Dan, Viorela; Raupp, Juliana (2018): A systematic review of frames in news reporting of health risks: Characteristics, construct consistency vs. name diversity, and the relationship of frames to framing functions. In: Health Risk & Society, Vol. 20, No. 5-6: pp. 203-226
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Risk professionals and scholars have long recognised the media as a key player in the social construction of risk. Many investigations into the frames journalists use when covering risks were published in recent years. Yet, keeping track of this literature has become increasingly difficult because authors tend to introduce new frames with every new study. This study reports a systematic review of studies on news frames on health risks. We pursue three central aims: (1) to determine if some of the frame-names circulating in the literature stand for very similar or even identical constructs (and can thus be condensed);(2) to determine how they relate to the four framing functions and to each other;and (3) to aggregate findings on the nature of frames in the media coverage of health risks. This should facilitate future reviews of literature and the formulation of hypotheses, substantiate discussions on the quality of risk reporting, add nuance to what has been a blanket criticism of the media, and help building framing theory by improving its consistency. We found 45 frame-names for just 15 frames, and a tendency to delineate frames for each framing function;some frames were unrelated to the framing functions. The frames that drew most scholarly interest were also the ones employed most often by journalists. Some generalisable statements regarding the use of frames in health-risk reporting can be made, though caution is advised given gaps in the evidence and variations by health risk and/or country of study.