This thesis begins by describing how high-technology risks like nuclear power plant explosions intrude into people`s everyday consciousness through television news. It problematises the failure of the traditional concepts in the social sciences to measure the consequences of sense making of nuclear risks and examines the distinction between the concepts of risk communication and crisis information. The Chernobyl disaster is presented and its consequences for media research discussed. Media coverage of disasters is examined in detail. The research paradigm is considered from the epistemological and ontological distinctions and qualitative methods versus quantitative ones are discussed. The interview methodology is discussed and profile descriptions given of the fifteen respondents. These includes lay people, authorities and experts, and representatives of the media. The data are examined from an ontological approach, using constructivism as the research framework. The ontological analysis is based on the application of Heidegger`s existentiales as a scientific instrument. The epistemological approach is discussed by proceeding from Heidegger to Habermas` theory of the communicative action. Finally, the thesis concludes with a discussion of the theoretical basis and methods used. 264 refs., 1 fig., 4 tabs.