Framing Science: How Opioid Research Is Presented in Online News Media

Lisa Matthias*, Alice Fleerackers, Juan Pablo Alperin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Popular news media play an instrumental role in shaping public perception of issues like the opioid crisis. Using a detailed coding instrument, we analyzed how opioid-related scholarly publications were covered in 149 news stories published by nine major US and Canadian online news outlets at the height of the crisis. We find that a small proportion of available studies receive coverage, mostly within issue-focused rather than science communication news stories. While most studies are framed as established "facts,"stories rarely provide sufficient information for news consumers to critically evaluate the validity of the research. Potential implications for science communication and public perception of the opioid crisis are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number64
Peer-reviewed scientific journalFrontiers in Communication
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Digital news
  • Framing
  • Health communication
  • Journalism
  • Opioid


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