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.
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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pulmoe.2021.05.011