Framing Autism in Newspaper Media : An Example from Finland

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Pesonen , H , Itkonen , T , Saha , M & Nordahl-Hansen , A 2021 , ' Framing Autism in Newspaper Media : An Example from Finland ' , Advances in autism , vol. 7 , no. 2 , pp. 167-177 .

Title: Framing Autism in Newspaper Media : An Example from Finland
Author: Pesonen, Henri; Itkonen, Tiina; Saha, Mari; Nordahl-Hansen, Anders
Contributor organization: Department of Education
Date: 2021-05-12
Language: eng
Number of pages: 11
Belongs to series: Advances in autism
ISSN: 2056-3868
Abstract: Purpose Media play a significant role in the process of raising public awareness about autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Despite an increase in ASD media coverage, there is scarcity of research that examines how the actual frame is constructed and how the news stories are narrated. This study aims to examine the extent to which Finnish print media papers extend medical and societal narration of ASD to other issue domains and the extent to which newspaper stories use a positive, negative or neutral narrative. Design/methodology/approach The authors analyzed 210 full newspaper reports from the largest daily appearing newspaper by circulation in Finland from 1990 to 2016. The authors used the newspaper's electronic database to conduct a systematic papers search. The authors then used coding scheme about news story framing, which was followed by a detailed content analysis of the papers. Findings Approximately two-thirds of the papers consisted of a straightforward informational or clinical lens to educate the public (n= 110). This is in line with international studies. However, the authors' analysis revealed four additional themes of medical and societal ASD reporting. Social implications The study increases understanding about how the media can shape the public perception of ASD, which in turn might influence how autistic individuals are accepted in the society, as well as how they feel that they belong. Originality/value While ASD itself is at the center of neutral news reporting, this study's results imply how to construct ASD from new paradigms. Linking ASD to a culture, and thus extending it to the more commonly accepted notion of deafness as a culture, might shape the public's perceptions about ASD.
Subject: Autism spectrum disorder
Disability construction
Frame alignment
516 Educational sciences
Peer reviewed: Yes
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: acceptedVersion

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