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Health crisis communication during a global pandemic : A media analysis about how German media reported on Covid-19 measures and how German policymakers, healthcare professionals and scientists communicate to the public during two lockdowns

Born, H.B. van den (2021) Health crisis communication during a global pandemic : A media analysis about how German media reported on Covid-19 measures and how German policymakers, healthcare professionals and scientists communicate to the public during two lockdowns.

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Abstract:Purpose: The sudden outbreak of the Covid-19 virus caused a significant impact on people’s well-being. Since news media is mostly informing the public about the restrictions, the way of communication of media, policymakers, scientists and healthcare professionals influences citizen’s perception and behavior. Therefore, this research analyzes how German newspaper articles frame the communication about Covid-19 measures and which message style and frame type policymakers, scientists, and healthcare professionals use, when being quoted. The frame types conflict, responsibility, human-interest, economic consequences and moral were chosen as well as the narrative (emotional and storytelling) and non-narrative (facts based and logical) message style in order to understand the purpose of communication. Method: 200 articles were chosen in the time period of the first lockdown (March 2020 to June 2020) and of the second lockdown (October 2021 until April 2021). The objective of this analysis was twofold. One, the communication between policymakers, healthcare professionals and scientists was compared with each other. Second, the differences in communication of media, policymakers, healthcare professionals and scientists during the two time periods were analyzed. Results: The results show that the responsibility frame is used most and the moral frame least by media. Additionally, policymakers also use the responsibility frame most when being quoted, as well as scientists. Healthcare professionals use the responsibility frame as much as the human-interest frame. In general, the non-narrative message style is used more and mostly used in combination with the loss frame. Additionally, the non-narrative message style is used more often during the second lockdown as well as the loss frame. Conclusion: The findings show that policymakers and scientists focus on communicating from a logical, responsible and facts-based approach, whereas healthcare professionals take the human-interest perspective when communicating about the measures. Also, media predominantly focuses on emphasizing the severeness of the pandemic.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies BSc (56615)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/86501
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