Risk Management

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 180–198 | Cite as

A dangerous neighbor: The news frames of the radiation effects from the Fukushima nuclear accident

Original Article


This article examined how US newspapers conveyed radiation-related health information in their coverage of the Fukushima nuclear accident. News articles from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today were used in this study. A quantitative content analysis of 277 news articles and a qualitative framing analysis of 60 news articles were conducted. Comparing the findings of prior studies on nuclear accidents, this research found that news articles reporting on the Fukushima accident were more likely to provide quantitative and factual information. Also, significant differences of overall tone were observed between articles addressing historical accidents and those reporting the Fukushima accident. Additionally, our framing analyses revealed four major frames: the negligible risks frame, the predictable immediate risk frame, the hidden danger frame and the open questions frame. Finally, limitations of this research and potential areas for further inquiry will be discussed.


Fukushima nuclear accident news frame health effects radiation 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Journalism and Communications, University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.College of Communication and Information Sciences, University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

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