Coverage of Antimicrobial Resistance in the German Press: 1993-2013

Health Commun. 2019 Aug;34(9):958-963. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2018.1446250. Epub 2018 Mar 9.


The present study explores the coverage of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and its associated risks in the German press between 1993 and 2013. Using quantitative content analysis, we explored the corpus of newspaper articles to evaluate the quality of risk reporting. Our findings show an overall increase in the quality of risk-related information: articles contain more substantiating statements describing objectively cognizable phenomena with absolute numbers, prevalences, estimations, and tendencies over time. There is also an increase in the level of precision of such statements. On the other hand, the results suggest that there is little contextualization of risk information and mortality data is often communicated in absolute numbers, which makes it harder to understand and interpret the information. While the debate about the risks of AMR is led by the scientific community, the overall tone of the coverage is alarmist, which can result in growing skepticism of scientific expertise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Mass Media
  • Newspapers as Topic / standards
  • Newspapers as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk
  • Uncertainty


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents