Risk, Health and Medicine in The New York Times

  • Jens O. Zinn
  • Daniel McDonald
Part of the Critical Studies in Risk and Uncertainty book series (CRSTRU)


The study provides evidence for the increasing usage of risk words in reporting on health and illness. Chronic and civilisation illnesses are well represented and contribute to this trend. Infectious diseases often inform short risk hypes. AIDS’ long-term presence has become a less prominent topic, as treatment improves and panic subsides. An epidemiological worldview and strong references to scientific studies carry the instantiation of risk. There is less conscious and/or agentive risk-taking in the reporting on health and illness than in other social domains. While women and children (for example) are frequently represented in relation to risk, they are less likely to be presented as taking risks, and more likely to experience them.


Civilisation illness Infectious disease Health risk Epidemiology Vulnerability Scientific expertise 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jens O. Zinn
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Daniel McDonald
    • 4
  1. 1.Lancaster UniversityLancasterUK
  2. 2.University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Mid Sweden UniversityÖstersundSweden
  4. 4.Eberhard Karls UniversityTübingenGermany

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