In 2000 disaster struck Enschede in The Netherlands. Due to explosions at a fireworks facility 22 people were killed. This study aims to describe the developments in the media coverage of this disaster from a media amplification perspective. Media amplification was assumed to have taken place in case: (1) events in the aftermath of the disaster resulted in increased media coverage, (2) the media framed the disaster in terms of conflict and responsibility and (3) the framing was in a negative tone-of-voice regarding governmental authorities. Content analysis was performed on 3942 articles, derived from four newspapers. Three peaks in the magnitude of the coverage were distinguished. The content of the coverage during these peaks differed from the period of gradual coverage decline. During the peaks, coverage more often was framed in terms of conflict and responsibility, government was referred to more often and the tone-of-voice on government was less positive. It was concluded that the media coverage of the Enschede fireworks met the conditions of media amplification. It is discussed whether the media coverage was such that the public’s risk perception might have been affected.
- Media coverage
- Media amplification