Warwick Blood (1947–2022) was a leading Australian researcher in the field of Communication and Media Studies whose research focused on the role of the news media in framing public understanding of major social issues such as fear of crime, suicide and mental illness and community perceptions of risk. This article traverses Warwick's research career from his 1981 PhD on agenda setting to his later qualitative research using news frame analysis and ethnomethodology. Warwick's research is positioned within the history of Communication and Media Studies in Australia. We argue his work had a major impact on the practice of journalism and more generally on the study of health communication. His legacy was to forge a path in impactful, collaborative social research that has enabled the flowering of applied media studies and health communication research at a time of critical urgency in both public health and the media industries.