Media, tigers, and bats, oh my: Hysteria in the media

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Southern New Hampshire University
This research explores various news outlet coverage of breaking news. In an age when media is continuously developing and reaching larger audiences, news outlets are consistently writing to outdo one another and bring readers to their story. This often leads to misrepresentation of content and an urge of public hysteria. The research examines this issue by placing a focus on the poaching and trading of tigers, as well as the spread of zoonotic diseases in bats. These two areas of news represent two different aspects of breaking coverage. By exploring the issues associated with tigers, audiences will often discover news relating to a tiger being on the loose or an attack that has occurred. Very little is reported in terms of encroachment on their natural habitat or a poaching arrest that has been made. This type of breaking news represents an area of underrepresentation. On the other hand, research has demonstrated that through zoonotic diseases in bats, the recent Ebola outbreak took center stage across news media outlets. In this particular case, coverage was misrepresented, sensationalized, and induced hysteria across large audiences. Curating performed through Health Map lends direct access to the breaking of accurate, authentic, news stories. Outside of this manner of reporting, stories are often misconstrued and duplicated to reach broader audiences. However, by curating news stories this can be prevented while the reliable source is found and accurately portrayed as the breaking source. This research examines the accurate approach to news coverage and the effects that result from misrepresentation and intensification of false news. (Author abstract)