The media and social problems

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Social problems are constituted as global in scope with the help of the media. In recent years, crises such as those of refugees from war and ecological collapse, race relations, gender relations, global warming, drug trafficking, and mental health, among others, have been foregrounded in the public sphere especially through journalism but also through other forms of media practice such as film and multimedia production. Audiences as users of media technology, meanwhile, have proven to be catalysts in exposing social problems that transcend national boundaries. Further, instances are widespread of the role of the media in facilitating the resolution of social problems, from the conflict between the peoples of Timor and Indonesia to the prosecution of religious authorities involved in abuses across countries and creeds. Similarly, the media can cause social problems such as the devastation in Iraq following uncritical coverage of the White House around 2003. This chapter explores how problems are constructed, continually represented, and ordered toward resolution or provoked within a media ecology. The discussion, using historical examples is guided by media and socio-political theories including Risk Society of Modernity, Compassion Fatigue, Cosmopolitanism, Mediatization, Agenda Setting, CNN Effect, and Audience Participation and Fragmentation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe palgrave handbook of global social change
EditorsRajendra Baikady, S.M. Sajid, Varoshini Nadesan, Jaroslaw Przeperski, M. Rezaul Islam, Jianguo Gao
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783030681272
ISBN (Print)9783030876241
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2023


  • Media
  • Social problems
  • Journalism
  • Social constructionism
  • Solutions journalism
  • Journalism and democracy


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