Reportage of Stories on Fire Outbreaks in Ghana: An Analysis of the Daily Graphic and the Chronicle

Bright K. Gakpe, Patrick Y. Mahama


This paper seeks to establish the extent and nature of newspaper coverage of not only fire outbreaks but also fire safety issues in Ghana during the period of incessant fires.

Contents of 288 editions of the Daily Graphic and The Chronicle newspapers, published in Ghana from January to June of 2009 and 2010, were analyzed from the agenda-setting, attribution framing and normative news values perspectives.

The two newspapers published a total of 47 fire outbreak stories; 57 issues relating to fire safety; and 10 other fire-related stories. Having compared the number of published fire outbreaks with the compiled statistics of the Ghana National Fire Service during the period, it was established that only 1.44 per cent of the recorded fire outbreaks were published by the newspapers. A study hypothesis that the two newspapers were more likely to publish fire outbreak stories than fire safety-related issues was not statistically supported by the collected data. It was also assumed that there was likely to be a relationship between newspaper and news coverage on fires. This was supported by the data. News articles blamed most of the fires on the Electricity Company of Ghana for serious power fluctuations and unstable power supply.

Though the media could serve as a valuable communication vehicle to provide facts about fires, the Daily Graphic and The Chronicle were unable to take advantage of the numerous fire disasters that occurred during the period to substantially inform and educate Ghanaians on issues concerning fires.

Key words: Fire outbreaks, Fire safety, Coverage, Media, Ghana.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3267 ISSN (Online)2224-3275

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