First DECIPHER Publication in Top Journal Health Communication

Under the title "The Global Study of COVID News: Scope, Findings, and Implications of Quantitative Content Analyses of the COVID-19 News Coverage in the First Two Years of the Pandemic," Andreas Schwarz, Audra Diers-Lawson, Francis Alpers, and Elisabeth Wagner-Olfermann have published a systematic analysis of previously published quantitative content analyses of COVID-19 news coverage in different countries in the international journal Health Communication.

From the outset, the COVID-19 pandemic has attracted considerable interest in numerous scientific disciplines. In the medical field, some scientists speak retrospectively of a veritable "paperdemic" (Valencise et al., 2022). In communication studies, too, the first studies of media coverage appeared at an early stage of the pandemic. Andreas Schwarz, Francis Alpers, and Elisabeth Wagner-Olfermann from the Department of Public Relations and Technology Communication, together with Audra Diers-Lawson (Kristiania University College, Oslo), Mercator Fellow in the ongoing DECIPHER project, systematically analyzed 66 studies published in peer-reviewed journals up to April 2022. The focus was on quantitative and automated content analyses with regard to their theoretical content, geographic diversity, methodological standards, and consideration of risk and crisis communication theory. We also evaluated the extent to which the studies derived implications for the practice of health-related risk and crisis communication.


Results show that early studies of media coverage during COVID-19 often lacked in-depth theory, used very heterogeneous forms of framing analysis, and made few references to risk and crisis communication theory. Consequently, much-needed implications for health communication practice in pandemics are lacking. What has improved compared to previous research, however, is geographic diversity-both in terms of the countries studied and the origins of study authors. Discussion of these findings highlights the need to develop a consistent approach to framing analyses of risk and crisis reporting in the media and the importance of well-designed cross-cultural research in a global pandemic.


The article appeared in Health Communication (Q1), the world's leading journal in the field of health communication, making it the first article published in a peer-reviewed journal as part of the DECIPHER project.


The article:

Andreas Schwarz, Francis Alpers, Elisabeth Wagner-Olfermann & Audra Diers-Lawson (2023) The Global Study of COVID News: Scope, Findings, and Implications of Quantitative Content Analyses of the COVID-19 News Coverage in the First Two Years of the Pandemic, Health Communication




Dr. Andreas Schwarz




Sources: Valencise, F. E., Boschiero, M. N., Palamim, C. V. C., & Marson, F. A. L. (2022). The COVID-19 impact on the scientific production on the 25 main death causes according to world region. Pulmonology, 28(1), 1–3.


We research various structural, content-related and social dimensions of strategic communication, including in the context of technology-oriented organizations. Our focus is on public relations & organizational communication, risk and crisis communication, communication with and about technologies, and international strategic communication.

ResearchTU Ilmenau
TeachingTU Ilmenau


In the area of teaching, we deal as a field of expertise with the areas of public relations, crisis communication, international communication, communicator research as well as media change and social media.

  • Schwarz, A., Seeger, M., & Auer, C. (Eds.). (2016). Handbook of international crisis communication research. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
    Schwarz, A., Schleicher, K., Srugies, A., & Rothenberger, L. (2017). Crisis communication of youth welfare offices in Germany: Findings on media coverage and strategic communication especially in the context of severe cases of child welfare endangerment. Ilmenau: Ilmenau University Press. 
    Schwarz, A. (2010). Crisis PR from a stakeholder perspective: The influence of attributions of cause and responsibility on organizational reputation. Wiesbaden: VS Verl. for the Social Sciences.

The research group for Public Relations and Communication of Technology has been led on an interim basis since 04/2023 by Prof. Dr. Martin Löffelholz. The team consists of Dr. Andreas SchwarzFrancis Alpers andElisabeth U. Wagner-Olfermann. Melanie Waltinger currently supports as team assistant.

TeamAnLi Fotografie