In Search of Infodemics: US Media Amplification of Risk

68 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2022 Last revised: 4 Jan 2023

See all articles by Cormac Bryce

Cormac Bryce

City University London

Michael M. Dowling

Dublin City University Business School; ESC Rennes School of Business

Suwan(Cheng) Long

Judge Business School, University of Cambridge; Trinity Business School, Trinity College Dublin

Jamie Wardman

Nottingham University Business School

Date Written: March 19, 2022

Abstract

Drawing on the Social Amplification of Risk Framework (SARF) we substantiate the occurrence of different forms and patterns of risk amplification within US news media. We apply keyword terms from the Society for Risk Analysis Glossary along with Latent Dirichlet Allocation topic modeling analysis to examine 271,854 news stories that contain explicit references to risk over the last two decades. We find that risk news media coverage gravitates around seven core topics; health, business, environment, entertainment, domestic affairs, geopolitics, and technology. We also identify a series of discreet risk news events over this time period which exhibit an explosive growth in media coverage that can be distinguished as incidences of ‘risk amplification’, including key risks such as COVID-19 which demonstrate infodemic properties. We discuss the implications of these findings for policymakers and researchers regarding risk communication, infodemics, and risk perception.

Keywords: media risk communication, infodemics, risk perception, social amplification of risk, topic modelling

JEL Classification: D83, D81

Suggested Citation

Bryce, Cormac and Dowling, Michael M. and Long, Suwan(Cheng) and Wardman, Jamie, In Search of Infodemics: US Media Amplification of Risk (March 19, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4061767 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4061767

Cormac Bryce

City University London ( email )

Northampton Square
London, EC1V 0HB
United Kingdom

Michael M. Dowling

Dublin City University Business School ( email )

Dublin 9
Ireland

ESC Rennes School of Business ( email )

Rue Robert d'arbrissel, 2
Rennes, 35000
France

Suwan(Cheng) Long (Contact Author)

Judge Business School, University of Cambridge ( email )

Judge Business School, University of Cambridge
Trumpington St, Cambridge
Cambridge, CB2 1AG
United Kingdom

Trinity Business School, Trinity College Dublin ( email )

College Green, Dublin 2
Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin
Dublin, D02 PN40
Ireland

Jamie Wardman

Nottingham University Business School ( email )

Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

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