Sharks and New Zealand news media

Published on
16 September 2021

Sharks and New Zealand news media

Oscar Schouten Reid, Fabien Medvecky


Sharks are among the most feared animals in the world. Sharks are also among the most misrepresented. Historically, mass media has disproportionately portrayed sharks as deadly and dangerous human killers through melodramatic headlines, sensationalised stories and overly graphic accounts. This study builds on the works of McCagh et al. (2015) [19] and Fraser-Baxter and Medvecky (2018) [5] to provide a comprehensive analysis of the reporting of sharks in New Zealand (NZ) news media for the first time. Content analysis was used to analyse every shark related news media article across all available print newspapers from January 1st, 1989 to December 31st, 2018. Findings from this study outline that shark discourse in NZ has remained consistent over time. There was heavy focus on human-shark interaction and the dangers sharks may pose to humans. Conservation or policy focused articles were almost non-existent. The language used in shark related articles was most commonly emotive. The findings were consistent with previous research conducted on shark discourse.

Marine Policy, Volume 134, December 2021, 104751. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2021.104751


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