Toronto Metropolitan University
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Conquering Media Coverage : The use of battle metaphors in hospital foundation communications and its impact on news coverage

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posted on 2023-02-28, 19:46 authored by Sara Hoffman
Battle terminology such as “fight,” “conquer,” and “hero” and imagery that compares doctors and patients to superheroes, soldiers and athletes have become increasingly prevalent in hospital foundation communications. The use of these metaphors has been highly controversial. While some audiences have praised foundation campaigns that use this type of messaging for emphasizing the strength of patients and hospital staff, encouraging patient families, and motivating patients to be resilient, others argue that these campaigns marginalize those who are unable to overcome their health conditions, positioning them as failures or losers. While the use of battle metaphors in hospital communications has been a heated topic in online discussion, little is known about the impact of this language on the media coverage and financial support that they generate for hospitals. This paper presents a multimodal discourse analysis of the communications of six hospital foundations in Toronto, Canada followed by a quantitative and sentiment analysis of the media coverage each foundation has received within the last fiscal year. The aim of this paper is to determine if there is a relationship between the use of battle metaphors in hospital foundation communications and the amount and sentiment of media coverage. According to agenda setting theory, media coverage has a palpable impact on public action. Therefore, the findings of this research may assist hospital foundations in developing useful communications practices they can employ to increase media exposure and, consequently, attract more donations to support their institutions.





  • Master of Professional Communication


  • Professional Communication

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • MRP