Ducking for cover in the ‘blame game’: news framing of the findings of two reports into the 2010–11 Queensland floods
After a disaster, the media typically focus on who is to blame. However, relatively little is known about how the narrative of blame plays out in media coverage of the release of official disaster reports. This paper examines coverage by two Australian newspapers (The Courier-Mail and The Australian) of the release of the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry's Interim Report and its Final Report to identify whether and how the news frame of blame was used. Given the absence of blame in the Final Report, the newspapers resorted to the frame of 'failure' in news and feature articles, while continuing to raise questions in editorials and opinion pieces about who was to blame. This study argues that situating coverage of the report within the news frame of failure and questioning who was to blame for the disaster limited the media's ability to facilitate a discussion about the prevention of similar disasters in the future.