*Karisha Anne E. Cruz & Carla Patrice S. Cucueco
This study examines how knowledge on poverty is formed through news media during the coverage of the 2013 major calamities in the Philippines, particularly, Typhoon Santi, Bohol Earthquake and Super Typhoon Yolanda. We carried out content analysis to identify how the Philippine news media framed the causes and solutions to poverty experienced by victims of these calamities. Results reveal that media primarily portrayed poverty as a problem caused by the devastation of the calamities. The lack of urgency to inform the public on the structural causes of poverty indicates complacency in addressing the problem through sustainable solutions. Moreover, the coverage of pro-poor efforts such as rehabilitation and policy reforms were far less than the coverage on immediate short-term solutions. The study also interviewed officials from various government agencies to shed light on current programs addressing the problem of poverty. The findings reveal that there are sustainable pro-poor solutions being implemented but these solutions were not highlighted in the news. Despite the lapse in journalism ethics and widespread use of sensationalism in the media, government officials deemed the media as a powerful source of information especially on propagating pro-poor solutions. This study provides recommendations on how the media, together with the government, can maximise its role as a catalyst for public knowledge on poverty alleviation.
Keywords: Media framing, poverty, disaster coverage, knowledge management