Bayer's Baycol/Lipobay crisis in the news: Themes, frames and sources in German and American newspaper coverage
The research of framing in public relations crises is a developing area. While previous studies analyzed how organizations frame crisis events, little research has been done on media framing of crises. This study employed quantitative content analysis to analyze crisis coverage in two major newspapers each from Germany and the United States. The crisis occurred in 2001 when the German pharmaceutical company Bayer withdrew an anti-cholesterol drug---Baycol/Lipobay---because it was associated with several deaths. This study analyzed the frames used by journalists and company officials, but also focused on the sources journalists cited when covering the crisis. The research found more coverage in German papers, but also differences in the most common themes and frames in the two countries. Results indicate communicative strategies used by company officials might have impacted newspaper frames. All papers strongly relied on elite sources, especially company officials, with the patients' viewpoints hardly represented.