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  • Framing of youth as a high-risk population in Canadian disaster news media
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Framing of youth as a high-risk population in Canadian disaster news media

Source(s):  International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction (Elsevier) (IJDRR)

In this paper, the authors present a critical discourse analysis of the journalistic coverage of five Canadian disasters, including the Alberta floods (2013), Fort McMurray wildfires (2016), Ottawa-Gatineau flooding (2017 and 2019), and the Ottawa-Gatineau tornadoes (2018). This study is part of a broader project focused on the representation of high-risk populations in disaster-media. In this paper the authors discuss how disaster-media portrays youth, and their contributions to disaster preparedness, response and recovery. They inductively analyzed 259 articles across the five disasters to identify and document the patterns of discourse in news media around youth in a disaster context.

The findings reveal that the Canadian disaster news media framed youth using fives lenses:

  1. the vulnerable status of youth;
  2. youth as passive bystanders;
  3. adult-centered narratives in media coverage of disasters: children as a burden on adults;
  4. youth as active agents – jumping into adulthood; and
  5. youth as a ‘legitimizing criteria’ in disaster response. The results of our study point to a need for a shift in the framing of youth in disasters to highlight their assets and actual/potential roles in disaster risk reduction efforts. Media can help to shift the narrative around youth by avoiding reductive, one-dimensional representation of youth as vulnerable victims.



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  • Framing of youth as a high-risk population in Canadian disaster news media
  • Publication date 2021
  • Author(s) Al-Baldawi, Zobaida; Pickering, Christina; Champagne-Poirier, Olivier et al.
  • Number of pages 9 p.
  • ISBN/ISSN 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2021.102174 (DOI)

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