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News and social media: Windows into community perspectives on disinvestment

  • Jackie M. Street (a1), Sophie E. Hennessy (a1), Amber M. Watt (a1), Janet E. Hiller (a2) and Adam G. Elshaug (a3)...

Abstract

Objectives: The aim of this study, in the context of disinvestment related health technology assessment, is to examine whether analysis of Web 2.0—commercial media output, blogs, and discussion forums—can provide an understanding of media framing, community perspectives, and the sociopolitical aspects of an entrenched technology.

Methods: Thematic analysis of relevant data from fifty-nine media articles, thirty-nine discussion forums, thirteen blogs, and three Facebook pages relating to our case study: public funding for assisted reproductive technology services. Mainstream media and community-based social media responses were compared.

Results: Media responses were narrow, primarily describing emotive individual narratives or the political nexus of interests. Community (including patient) responses were broader including discussion of opportunity cost and vested interests but mostly reflected the polar ends of the debate, diverging strongly for or against disinvestment from public funding.

Conclusion: Web2.0 and media analysis offers an inexpensive method to capture media portrayal, divergent community responses both to that portrayal and independent of it, and insight into the sociopolitical aspects of an entrenched technology undergoing disinvestment debate.

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References

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