We continue with this second post analysis about Wikileaks media profile by comparing it to the initial media coverage of the disaster in Japan.
Yesterday we provided information of how media covered the massive earthquake and consequent devastating tsunami just in the aftermath of it (three hours later), and with an update of the analysis with additional news published during the day. Before analysing the specific topic of this post, we show the new update of how media in English cover the Japanese disaster one day after. At this point, new footages show the exceptional devastation provoked by the tsunamis in Japan, and media attention start to focus on the nuclear problems in several sites, and specially the Tokyo Electric Power nuclear facility in Fukushima. We also know that by now there are few number of people dead as a consequence of the tsunami outside Japan.
As in the precedent post, we focus the analysis on the brand vector “Tragedy”. The results refer to all news published during the 26 hours after the earthquake in our data panel (some 33,000 news in English). We observe that the initial trend identified in the precedent update is confirmed. Additional news about the Japan earthquake are increasing the degree of associtation of the disaster to the components tragedy, catastrophic and horrible. The association with worst tend to decrease.
The main purpose of this post is to evaluate the media coverage given to a new collateral issue produced by the earthquake. The Government launched an energy emergency yesterday, as already mentioned in the precedent post. Fron the initial 2km evacuation order followed today an additional 10km evacuation order. At 3pm local time a huge explosion took place in one of the nuclear reactors. The news widespread quickly. Initial official reactions consider it a problem but under control. A new call for evacutation was immediately applied to 20km around the facilities. The press release by TEPCO by 3 pm did not mention the explosion. But soon later came a video aired by BBC news showing a huge blast in the nuclear facility. Fukushima is some 240 km away from Tokyo.
This is the contextual framework at the moment we checked and identified the news about the Fukushima nuclear explosion. There is a lot of incertitude, but also a lot of fears about the implications of this event. Panic word is emerging, altogether with Government calls to tranquility. We count with 900 news about the explosion, published till 11h30 am ECT. Our aim is to compare this very initial stage of media coverage of the Fukushima nuclear plant problems, and to compare it with global media coverage given to the Japan earthquake, and then also to the initial media coverage given to Wikileaks revelations.
Media coverage at this point makes difficult to disentangle the specific profile of how media is considering the Fukushima blast against the treatment given to the Japan earthquake, as they are intrinsically connected and share common press articles. All in all, marginal differences suggest the the Fukushima affaire is more associated than overall news about the Japanese disaster in “Tragedy” components related to harm and failure. The Japan earthquake predominates concerning horrible and worst.
We compare now the media coverage to Fukushima explosion against Wikileaks. As just mentioned, media profile of the nuclear explosion is very similar to the Japan disaster. Probably in the few next hours the nuclear explosion will acquire its own specific media profile. With the results at this point, and comparing it to news published about Wikileaks during the first month (December 2010), we first analyse differences concerning the brand vector “Scandal”. Wikileaks is more associated in general to scandal, even if some media voices start to critisize TEPCO role and conduit in past security nuclear alerts.
The brand vector “Tragedy” is at this point more strongly associated to Wikileaks than to Fukushima concerning the vector components tragedy and failure. Worst and harm are somehow more linked to Fukushima.
Results with new information will be more relevant, depending of course on the direction taken by the events after the blast in the nuclear facility. At this initial moment, reflecting an stage of doubts, questions and fears about something potentially extremely harmful, we conclude again by comparison that the media coverage given to Wikileaks related news and content was substantilly negative in terms of reputational impact.