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Title: Information transformation : the structures of BSE and the strategic predetermination of information events
Author: Lay, Samantha
ISNI:       0000 0004 2748 6610
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2006
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How did stories about BSE and variant CJD come to be reported? The thesis takes the approach that news stories are one information event in a chain of dissemination that stretches back to the first formulated account Information events are the material objects constructed at each stage in the chain. They are distinct from but related to, the first formulated account of an event or phenomenon. Structures and their mechanisms guide the construction and dissemination of information events. At each stage in the process of dissemination, information events are strategically predetermined to suit the communicative goals of sources. But resistance is possible, as this research demonstrates. The thesis explores three events: FSE in a cat in May 1990, the link between BSE and variant CJD in 1996 and the findings of a study on the prevalence of variant CJD in the UK population led by Dr David Hilton in May 2004. Through quantitative analysis I first explore two information events in the dissemination process: press releases and news reports. I then subject the 2004 event to qualitative analysis through interviews with sources and journalists, facilitating a deeper knowledge of the transformational stages posited. The study is underpinned by a realist assumption that some objective reality is being reported - the physical reality of disease - but applies a weak constructionist approach to the construction of information events. This thesis contends that reality is a crucial conception in the study of news but what that reality is constituted from should always remain elusive, ambiguous and open to question. I contend, however, that one has to know where and how to look for the nearest approximation of it. If we throw away the quest for and belief in reality then we have no defence against the reality constructed for us by powerful elites.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available