Media Science and Practice

Abstract: Given their influence and visibility, understanding how news media cover topics involving medicines and how they provide information to their target audiences is essential when it comes to medicinal product risk communication research. While information about health and medicine are found in entertainment and social media, this chapter introduces media science with a focus, albeit not exclusively, on journalist-based news media.  It presents an overview of relevant theories as well as methods that academics, government agencies, professional societies and pharmaceutical companies can use to understand communication flows in the media and their potential effects. Particularly, it reviews in more depth, the methodological aspects of content analyses as well as discusses research approaches, including those involving journalists, which could be used to guide or strengthen medicinal product risk communication. Media science-based research can inform the preparations of communication strategies and materials; and studying what is actually happening in the news media is relevant to establishing communication models and evaluating communication interventions in a rapidly changing media landscape.