Vaccine hesitancy in the Age of Coronavirus and fake news: Analysis of journalistic sources in the Spanish Quality Press Articles uri icon

publication date

  • November 2020

start page

  • 8136


  • 21


  • 17

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1661-7827

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1660-4601


  • The study of the quality press and the use of sources is relevant to understand the role of journalists in scientific controversies. The objective was to examine media sourcing patterns, using the case of vaccines as a backdrop. Articles were retrieved from the national quality press in Spain. Content analysis was undertaken on the sources and on other variables such as tone, frames and journalistic genre. The software myNews and NVivo were used for data collection and coding, while SPSS and Excel were used for statistical analysis. Findings indicate that sources related to the government, professional associations and scientific companies are the most frequently used, confirming the central role of government institutions as journalistic sources. These were followed by university scientists, scientific journals and clinicians. On the other hand, NGOs and patients groups were included in fewer than 5% of the articles. More than 30% included none or just one source expressing unbalanced perspectives. Frequent use of certain source types, particularly governmental, may indicate state structures of power. The study provides a better understanding of journalistic routines in the coverage of vaccines, including fresh perspectives in the current COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Information Science


  • content analysis; media; newspaper; public health; sources; journalism; vaccine