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When we know what we don’t know: Uncertainty, ignorance and speculation in the UK television coverage of airplane disasters

Boelle, Julia 2021. When we know what we don’t know: Uncertainty, ignorance and speculation in the UK television coverage of airplane disasters. JOMEC Journal (16) , pp. 5-22. 10.18573/jomec.205

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Abstract

This article examines how the media deal with absent information by examining representations of uncertainty, ignorance and speculation in the UK television coverage of airplane disasters. Drawing on thematic and discourse analyses, the article argues that there is a development over time whereby two phases can be discerned: (1) the (initial) ignorance phase and (2) the epilogue phase. The former describes coverage that contains an absence of information. The findings show that the reporting in this phase draws on modality and speculation to counterbalance the absence of information regarding the airplane disasters. The epilogue phase factually concludes what happened and brings a form of resolution to the incidents. As a result, information is presented with more certainty than in the ignorance phase. These findings have implications for journalism studies more generally because they refine our understandings about the development of media coverage on events and situate the concepts of uncertainty, ignorance and speculation at the forefront of the discipline.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Publisher: Cardiff University Press
ISSN: 2049-2340
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 June 2021
Date of Acceptance: 15 May 2021
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2021 02:19
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/141802

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