Ash dieback and other tree pests and pathogens: dispersed risk events and the Social Amplification of Risk Framework

Fellenor, John, Barnett, Julie, Potter, Clive, Urquhart, Julie ORCID: 0000-0001-5000-4630, Mumford, John and Quine, Christopher P. (2019) Ash dieback and other tree pests and pathogens: dispersed risk events and the Social Amplification of Risk Framework. Journal of Risk Research, 22 (12). pp. 1459-1478. doi:10.1080/13669877.2018.1485170

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It is widely acknowledged within the risk literature that the mass media play a pivotal role in shaping information about risk events for audiences. Whilst some risk events reflect occurrences specific to particular times and locations, other risk events are more difficult to temporally and spatially situate as they are dispersed across years or months and are not constrained to particular geographic locations. Studies examining the relationship between the social amplification or attenuation of risks and their framing in the media have tended to focus on the former type of event. In this paper we explore the social amplification of risk in relation to ash dieback disease (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus), a tree health issue that attracted intense media attention in the UK in 2012, and characterise what we designate as a dispersed risk event. Drawing on the influential Social Amplification of Risk Framework (SARF), we present a frame analysis of UK national newspaper articles to assess the connection between media coverage of dieback and risk amplification, and the extent to which dieback coverage drew on other tree health issues and objects of media attention. Focusing particularly on the blame frame around dieback, the paper considers the implications of conceptualising dispersed risk events for the SARF and its amplification metaphor. Moreover, given that risk events such as dieback are often associated with policy shifts, we suggest that there is value for risk communicators and policy makers in broadening their focus to incorporate more of the ‘history’ of risk events in order to anticipate likely anchors of public and media attention.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Social Amplification of Risk Framework; Risk event; Frame analysis; Media; Ash dieback
Subjects: S Agriculture > SD Forestry
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Countryside and Community Research Institute
Research Priority Areas: Place, Environment and Community
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2018 13:49
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2022 13:00

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