Role of Media and Journalism during COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learned and Future Challenges

A topical collection in Journalism and Media (ISSN 2673-5172).

Viewed by 26757

Editor


E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Department of Communication Sciences and Sociology, Faculty of Communication Sciences, University Rey Juan Carlos, 28943 Fuenlabrada, Madrid, Spain
Interests: journalism; political communication; news consumption
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

A year and a half after the appearance of the first cases of contagion, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be an important object of study for researchers in media and journalism studies.

During this time, the news media and its professionals have adapted their practices to meet the challenges of reporting on a pandemic with unknown consequences, while governments and health authorities have faced the difficult task of managing the communication of their decisions. For their part, citizens have sought information from different sources to understand and act in different waves of the coronavirus crisis.

Along with this, dialogues denying the virus have proliferated, and misinformation has become a problem in pandemic management; at the same time, political discourse has become more polarized and public freedoms have been questioned.

This Topical Collection aims to bring together works that address these issues, but this Topical Collection is not limited to these topics. We want this collection to also serve as an opportunity for reflection on the changes and challenges of journalism in the post-COVID era.

 Themes to be addressed in this Topical Collection of Journalism and Media: - News coverage of COVID-19: news agenda setting and framing; - Media and journalistic roles in coronavirus times;- Disinformation and infodemic;- Political communication and campaigning during COVID-19; - Trust for news on coronavirus;- The role of social media as an information source during pandemic;- Public health communication and civic engagement;- COVID-19’s impact on news consumption patterns;- Impact of limitations on press freedom in journalistic practice;- Information quality in COVID-19 news coverage;- Media and Journalism in the post-COVID era: challenges to face. Related Special Issue: "Media Freedom in the Age of COVID-19"

Prof. Dr. María Luisa Humanes
Collection Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the collection website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journalism and Media is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • media freedom
  • COVID-19
  • censorship
  • access to information
  • disinformation
  • journalistic practice
  • information quality
  • ethical limits

Published Papers (9 papers)

2024

Jump to: 2023, 2022

26 pages, 395 KiB  
Article
The Age of the Expert—COVID-19, Expertise, and Conflicts of Interest in Austrian Media Reporting
by Johannes Scherling and Anouschka Foltz
Journal. Media 2024, 5(1), 163-188; https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia5010012 - 01 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1250
Abstract
Background: Experts are a favorite source of information in the news media as they have the ability to provide balanced and authoritative comments on important issues. However, two factors cast doubt on the extent to which such experts can actually provide balanced information: [...] Read more.
Background: Experts are a favorite source of information in the news media as they have the ability to provide balanced and authoritative comments on important issues. However, two factors cast doubt on the extent to which such experts can actually provide balanced information: conflicts of interest and areas of expertise. In this paper, we analyze the use of expert voices during the COVID pandemic in two Austrian broadsheet papers. Methods: We examine the use of reporting verbs employed to indicate the journalists’ stance towards the expert comments as well as the relationship of those comments to the experts’ fields of expertise and to any potential conflicts of interest. Results: Our analysis shows that the media uncritically reported experts that had considerable conflicts of interest, while others were permitted to comment on topics far outside their particular fields. Conclusions: In the absence of journalistic scrutiny, distance, and context, both of these practices are likely to have led audiences to take the experts’ comments at face value and therefore to have embraced unbalanced information that amplified official narratives, to the exclusion of alternative voices. Full article

2023

Jump to: 2024, 2022

15 pages, 1026 KiB  
Article
Love, Like or Angry in Times of COVID-19? Analysing News Brands’ Audience Engagement on Facebook Amidst a Pandemic
by Jonathan Hendrickx, Annelien Van Remoortere and Michaël Opgenhaffen
Journal. Media 2023, 4(3), 931-945; https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia4030060 - 05 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1196
Abstract
As an integral part of their online strategies and business models, news outlets diffuse their online content on social media platforms such as Facebook to increase traffic. They thereby succumb to the contingencies and constraints of third platforms infamous for their sudden changes [...] Read more.
As an integral part of their online strategies and business models, news outlets diffuse their online content on social media platforms such as Facebook to increase traffic. They thereby succumb to the contingencies and constraints of third platforms infamous for their sudden changes in algorithms. In this article, we assess engagement patterns of 140,359 Facebook posts of 17 Belgian news brands between March 2020 and 2021. We map out differences in audience engagement of news outlets’ Facebook posts related and unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic and differences between mainstream and alternative news outlets. We find that COVID-19-related posts generate more engagement and more so for mainstream media than for alternative media outlets. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 324 KiB  
Article
Risk Communication about COVID-19 in India: Corpus-Assisted Discourse Analysis of Mainstream News Reports about India’s Wave I and Wave II Outbreaks
by Huiling Ding and Manushri Pandya
Journal. Media 2023, 4(3), 802-819; https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia4030050 - 18 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1330
Abstract
This study employed critical rhetorical analysis and corpus-assisted discourse analysis in analyzing the news coverage of India’s transition from Wave I to Wave II Focusing on news coverage from the Times of India, we examined how COVID-19 was constructed in the public [...] Read more.
This study employed critical rhetorical analysis and corpus-assisted discourse analysis in analyzing the news coverage of India’s transition from Wave I to Wave II Focusing on news coverage from the Times of India, we examined how COVID-19 was constructed in the public and technical spheres and how India’s COVID-19 risk communication was shaped by unique geopolitical, cultural, infrastructural, and material factors. Our analysis highlights the tendency to datify COVID as statistics and case numbers, which both dehumanizes the patients and caretakers while erasing human suffering. It also reveals the critical roles played by the geopolitical, socioeconomic, infrastructural, and material conditions in shaping the national and regional capacities to respond to such far-reaching crises. Last but not least, affect and trust play prominent roles in the public coping with emerging pandemics given the uncertainties on all fronts, and thus should be centrally highlighted and addressed in public policies. Full article
17 pages, 333 KiB  
Article
The Use of Certainty in COVID-19 Reporting in Two Austrian Newspapers
by Johannes Scherling and Anouschka Foltz
Journal. Media 2023, 4(2), 530-546; https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia4020033 - 13 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2232
Abstract
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, in many parts of the Global North, the public has looked to the media as an important source of information about new developments and measures to combat the spread of the virus. The main measure propagated [...] Read more.
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, in many parts of the Global North, the public has looked to the media as an important source of information about new developments and measures to combat the spread of the virus. The main measure propagated by governments in this respect was the mass vaccination program. In this context, two important concepts in the media coverage were herd immunity and vaccine efficacy, both of which had to be reevaluated over time. In this study, we looked at the discursive construction of “the science” in the discourse on herd immunity and vaccine efficacy in two Austrian broadsheet newspapers. Our corpus-based analysis showed a tendency to overuse linguistic items implying certainty in the face of a very fast-changing, and thus uncertain, situation. We also found evidence that these two Austrian media outlets no longer function as corrective of power, but have taken on the role of mediators of sanctioned government narratives. We argue that the uncritical reporting of government narratives in such a fluid situation has led to unresolved and unreflected inconsistencies in the reporting, arguably decreasing the public’s trust in the accuracy of the COVID-19 information presented in the media. Full article
18 pages, 3449 KiB  
Article
The Conversation around COVID-19 on Twitter—Sentiment Analysis and Topic Modelling to Analyse Tweets Published in English during the First Wave of the Pandemic
by Javier J. Amores, David Blanco-Herrero and Carlos Arcila-Calderón
Journal. Media 2023, 4(2), 467-484; https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia4020030 - 30 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1729
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted societies all over the world. In an interconnected and digital global society, social media was the platform not only to convey information and recommendations but also to discuss the pandemic and its consequences. Focusing on the phase of stabilization [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted societies all over the world. In an interconnected and digital global society, social media was the platform not only to convey information and recommendations but also to discuss the pandemic and its consequences. Focusing on the phase of stabilization during the first wave of the pandemic in Western countries, this work analyses the conversation around it through tweets in English. For that purpose, the authors have studied who the most active and influential accounts were, identified the most frequent words in the sample, conducted topic modelling, and researched the predominant sentiments. It was observed that the conversation followed two main lines: a more political and controversial one, which can be exemplified by the relevant presence of former US President Donald Trump, and a more informational one, mostly concerning recommendations to fight the virus, represented by the World Health Organization. In general, sentiments were predominantly neutral due to the abundance of information. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

14 pages, 1244 KiB  
Article
Mapping Feminist Politics on Tik Tok during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Content Analysis of the Hashtags #Feminismo and #Antifeminismo
by Rita Basílio Simões, Agda Dias Baeta and Bruno Frutuoso Costa
Journal. Media 2023, 4(1), 244-257; https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia4010017 - 03 Feb 2023
Viewed by 5441
Abstract
In recent decades, marked by the supposedly universal access to different types of social media, we have seen the emergence of forms of popular feminism embedded in complex dynamics. Often cohabiting in these dynamics are ambivalent ideas and imaginaries that both reject and [...] Read more.
In recent decades, marked by the supposedly universal access to different types of social media, we have seen the emergence of forms of popular feminism embedded in complex dynamics. Often cohabiting in these dynamics are ambivalent ideas and imaginaries that both reject and express feminist issues. Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of digital technologies increased exponentially to overcome mobility constraints, popularizing connective action around feminism and, at the same time, reinforcing normative views of society. This article explores these ambivalences by focusing on TikTok discourses, whose popularity grew intensely during the pandemic. Departing from a feminist constructionist perspective and using content analysis, we examine the 100 most prominent videos on the Portuguese hashtags #feminismo (#feminism) and #antifeminismo (#antifeminism) in the period corresponding to general containment measures in the second phase of the public health crisis. The results are less than encouraging. Over half of the analysed videos contain discursive dynamics conforming to social hierarchization (53%), often reaffirming gender stereotypes. By allowing forms of popular feminism and antifeminism to permeate the shared discourses, the results suggest that the platform gives rise to ideas and discourses that reify unbalanced power relations. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

2022

Jump to: 2024, 2023

17 pages, 709 KiB  
Article
Emotions in Crisis Coverage: How UK News Media Used Fear Appeals to Report on the Coronavirus Crisis
by Valerie Hase and Katherine M. Engelke
Journal. Media 2022, 3(4), 633-649; https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia3040042 - 10 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3061
Abstract
During crises, journalists rely on emotional appeals to alert the public. This includes fear appeals, i.e., journalistic depictions of threats and measures against them. Focusing on the coronavirus crisis, this study analyzes the prevalence of fear appeals in journalistic news, differences between outlets, [...] Read more.
During crises, journalists rely on emotional appeals to alert the public. This includes fear appeals, i.e., journalistic depictions of threats and measures against them. Focusing on the coronavirus crisis, this study analyzes the prevalence of fear appeals in journalistic news, differences between outlets, and changes over time. It employs a manual content analysis of UK online news between January and May 2020 (N = 1048). Results indicate that, during the early phases of the coronavirus pandemic, journalists relied heavily on fear-inducing messages by emphasizing threats related to COVID-19 and, though to a lesser degree, measures against these threats. Besides differences between tabloids and quality outlets, we find that fear-inducing content decreased before the UK itself became most affected, indicating that coverage served a warning function rather than mirroring national affectedness. Overall, the study illustrates that fear appeals are common in coverage of crises, where they enable journalists to take on the role of public mobilizers and facilitators of crises response strategies, for instance by governments. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

20 pages, 3860 KiB  
Article
The Effects of the COVID-19 “Infodemic” on Journalistic Content and News Feed in Online and Offline Communication Spaces
by Ioanna Kostarella and Rigas Kotsakis
Journal. Media 2022, 3(3), 471-490; https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia3030033 - 16 Aug 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4022
Abstract
The systematic coverage of the coronavirus pandemic by the Greek mass media began in February 2020, specifically, from the time the virus made its appearance in the most significant way in Italy. Until then, news about the virus had been sporadically visible depending [...] Read more.
The systematic coverage of the coronavirus pandemic by the Greek mass media began in February 2020, specifically, from the time the virus made its appearance in the most significant way in Italy. Until then, news about the virus had been sporadically visible depending mainly on news reports coming from the international media and press agencies. The assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic as an “infodemic” by the World Health Organization (WHO) made obvious the need to study media coverage and map its patterns, along with the unprecedented political and social response and the massive consequences on the global economy. Through a large content analysis, containing 7457 news items from 13 different media outlets, plus a comparative Twitter analysis of 36,317 tweets, we took the present situation as an opportunity to collect real-time data but also as a point of departure for addressing issues connected to journalistic practices and technological changes in the framework of COVID-19. According to our findings, the Greek media faced the crisis “with a view to the world”, emphasizing international coverage, giving priority to the authorities and scientists, and keeping (at least in their majority) hoaxes and conspiracy theories out of the agenda. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

10 pages, 433 KiB  
Communication
Health Information on COVID-19 Vaccination: Readability of Online Sources and Newspapers in Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Philippines
by Hiroko Costantini and Rie Fuse
Journal. Media 2022, 3(1), 228-237; https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia3010017 - 18 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2831
Abstract
To address the COVID-19 pandemic, as with other infectious diseases, a key intervention is vaccination. Health communications are thus of vital importance for informing the public on the benefits and risks of vaccines. This in turn makes the readability of media content fundamental. [...] Read more.
To address the COVID-19 pandemic, as with other infectious diseases, a key intervention is vaccination. Health communications are thus of vital importance for informing the public on the benefits and risks of vaccines. This in turn makes the readability of media content fundamental. Previous studies of COVID-19-related information have found the readability of online information considerably more difficult than recommended. However, studies on the readability of information related to COVID-19 vaccination in Asian contexts have yet to be carried out. Furthermore, especially in the case of the current pandemic, health information is communicated by a variety of information channels, including the internet and mass media. This paper investigates the readability of textual information on COVID-19 vaccination found online and in newspaper articles in parts of Asia where English is one of the main languages, namely Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. Readability was assessed using a set of readability tests (Flesch–Kincaid Reading Ease, Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level, Gunning Fog Index, Coleman–Liau Index, and Simple Measure of Gobbledygook Grade level). It was found that a low proportion of URLs scored within recommended readability thresholds, and did so consistently across locations and types of sources. Furthermore, a relatively low proportion of web searches returned information from local sources; most URLs linked to sources outside of Singapore, Hong Kong, or the Philippines. Further, local online and newspaper sources scored similarly poorly on readability on average compared to non-local sources. Understanding of fast-evolving health communications concerning COVID-19 vaccination encompasses information about vaccine development and deployment from other locations, as well as locally. Nevertheless, these findings indicated a fairly low proportion of local sources among the top search results, and relatively low (i.e., difficult-to-read) readability scores for top search results and for local newspapers. An important issue for health communications strategies addressing COVID-19 vaccination will therefore be to consider different types of media sources in order to achieve the right mix of local and non-local sources while also ensuring appropriate readability. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop