10. Reporting an emerging epidemic in Taiwan: Journalists' experiences of SARS coverage

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The performance of the mainstream news media during the SARS epidemic, particularly their treatment of risk-related information, raised heated criticism from the government, academia, and public in Taiwan. This study examines journalists’ perceptions and experiences in covering the SARS epidemic. Based on in-depth interviews with eight medical journalists from the mainstream news media in June and July 2003, the study addresses the following issues: journalistic routines of medical coverage; major changes to medical reporting during the epidemic; journalists’ judgments on information-seeking as well as on angle and source selection while facing scientific and political uncertainty; journalists’ reactions to criticism of news media performance during the SARS coverage; and what journalists learned about the news covering process from their experiences during the SARS epidemic.


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