Online News Media Framing of COVID-19 Pandemic: Probing the Initial Phases of the Disease Outbreak in International Media
1 Institute of Communication Studies, Communication University of China, CHINA* Corresponding Author
European Journal of Interactive Multimedia and Education, 1(2), 2020, e02006, https://doi.org/10.30935/ejimed/8402
OPEN ACCESS 7536 Views 6314 Downloads
The outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic that purpoted to originate in the city of Wuhan draws a lot of questions on the extent of crisis health communication concerning the international media. At the inception stage, in January 2020, it was reported that about ten major cities in China had been affected by this virus at that time labelled as 2019 nCov. By March 10, 2020, the disease had spread to Europe, the UK, Middle-East, and Africa, with more than 114,344 confirmed cases reported globally. In this situation, various scholars have often criticized the media for framing, misinformation, or exaggeration in the news information. In contrast, others have hailed the media for playing an educative and informative role to the public. Utilizing content analysis, framing and consecutive day sampling, this study focused on examining the media coverage of the initial two months of the COVID-19 Pandemic by four international news media organizations namely; BBC, CNN, Al-Jazeera and the People’s Daily. The article contributes to the discourse of mass media practice, and application of various research paradigm in deconstructing media framing during critical periods.
Keywords: COVID-19, Pandemic, Online news media, misinformation, constructed week, media framing
Mutua, S. N., & Ong'ong'a, D. O. (2020). Online News Media Framing of COVID-19 Pandemic: Probing the Initial Phases of the Disease Outbreak in International Media. European Journal of Interactive Multimedia and Education, 1(2), e02006. https://doi.org/10.30935/ejimed/8402
- Assiri, A., McGeer, A., Perl, T. M., Price, C. S., Al Rabeeah, A. A., Cummings, D. A. T., Alabdullatif, Z. N., Assad, M., Almulhim, A., Makhdoom, H., Madani, H., Alhakeem, R., Al-Tawfiq, J. A., Cotten, M., Watson, S. J., Kellam, P., Zumla, A. I., & Memish, Z. A. (2013). Hospital outbreak of middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus. New England Journal of Medicine, 369(5), 407-416. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1306742
- Beaudoin, C. E. (2007). SARS News Coverage and Its Determinants in China and the US. International Communication Gazette, 69(6), 509-524. https://doi.org/10.1177/1748048507082839
- Brahmbhatt, M., & Dutta, A. (2008). On SARS Type Economic Effects During Infectious Disease Outbreaks (January 2008). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 4466. https://doi.org/10.1596/1813-9450-4466
- Bryman, A. (2012). Social Research Methods. New York: Oxford University Press.
- CDC. (2020). First travel-related case of 2019 novel coronavirus detected in the United States. 21 January 2020. Retrieved on 26 January 2020 from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/p0121-novel-coronavirus-travel-case.html
- Celine, K., Enny, D., & Tilo, H. (2016). Swine flu and hype: a systematic review of media dramatization of the H1N1 influenza pandemic, Journal of Risk Research, 19(1), 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1080/13669877.2014.923029
- Entman, R. M. (1993). Framing: Towards clarification of a fractured paradigm. Journal of Communication, 43(4), 51-58. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.1993.tb01304.x
- Gislason, M. K. (2013). West Nile virus: the production of a public health pandemic. Sociological Health Illness, 35(2), 188-199. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9566.2012.01535.x
- Govender, S. (2017). Mistakes, Muddles, and Mixed Messages: How disjointed health reporting is confusing the issues and costing lives. Retrieved on 19 March 2020 from https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/our-research/mistakes-muddles-and-mixed-messages-how-disjointed-health-reporting-confusing-issues
- Harris, P. (2016). Achoo! Three Major US Newspapers Reporting on the Flu Before and After H1N1 (Masters Thesis). Retrieved from http://commons.lib.jmu.edu/master201019/91
- Huang, C., Wang, Y., Li, X., Ren, L., Zhao, J., Hu, Y., … Cao, B. (2020). Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China. The Lancet, S0140673620301835. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30183-5
- Idoiaga-Mondragon, N., Gil-de-Montes, L., & Valencia, J. (2017). Understanding an Ebola outbreak: social representations of emerging infectious diseases. Journal. Health Psychology, 22(7), 951-960. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105315620294
- Iyengar, S. (1990). Framing responsibility for political issues: The case of poverty. Political Behavior, 12(1), 19-40. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00992330
- Iyengar, S. (1991). Is anyone responsible? How television frames political issues. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226388533.001.0001
- Lee, J., & McKibbin, W. (2003). Globalization and Disease: The Case of SARS. Working Paper No. 2003/16, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University and the Brookings Institution, Washington, DC.
- Lee, M., Ju, Y., & You, M. (2019). The Effects of Social Determinants on Public Health Emergency Preparedness Mediated by Health Communication: The 2015 MERS Outbreak in South Korea. Health Communication, 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2019.1636342
- Lee, S. T. (2014). Predictors of H1N1 Influenza Pandemic News Coverage: Explicating the Relationships between Framing and News Release Selection. International Journal of Strategic Communication, 8(4), 294-310. https://doi.org/10.1080/1553118X.2014.913596
- Machungo, F. G. (2012). Trends and Content of Media Coverage of the HIV/Aids Epidemic in Africa By Three Influential US Newspapers, 1983-2008. 216.
- Mason, J., & Giahyue, H. (2014). Citing security threat, Obama expands the US role fighting Ebola. Reuters, September 16. Retrieved on 19 March 2020 from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-ebola-Obama/citing-security-threat-obama-expands-u-s-role-fighting-ebola-idUSKBN0HB08S20140916
- McCauley, M., Minsky, S., & Viswanath, K. (2013). The H1N1 pandemic: Media frames, stigmatization and coping. BMC Public Health, 13(1), 1116. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-13-1116
- Neuman, W. R., Just, M. R., & Crigler, A. A. (1992). Common Knowledge-News and Construction of Political Meaning. The University of Chicago Press. https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226161174.001.0001
- Oh, D. C., & Zhou, W. (2012). Framing sars: A case study in toronto of a mainstream newspaper and a chinese ethnic newspaper. Atlantic Journal of Communication, 20(5), 261–273. https://doi.org/10.1080/15456870.2012.728113
- Ophir, Y. (2018). Spreading News: The Coverage of Epidemics by American Newspapers and Its Effects on Audiences—A Crisis Communication Approach. 203.
- Pieri, E. (2019). Media framing and the threat of global pandemics: The ebola crisis in uk media and policy response. Sociological Research Online, 24(1), 73–92. https://doi.org/10.1177/1360780418811966
- Riffe, D., Aust, C. F., & Lacy, S. R. (1993). The effectiveness of random, consecutive day and constructed week sampling in newspaper content analysis. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 70(1), 133-139. https://doi.org/10.1177/107769909307000115
- Scheufele, D. A., & Tewksbury, D. (2007). Framing, agenda-setting, and priming: The evolution of three media effects models. Journal of Communication, 57(1), 9-20. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0021-9916.2007.00326.x
- Seto, W., Tsang, D., Yung, R., Ching, T., Ng, T., Ho, M., Ho, L., & Peiris, J. (2003). Effectiveness of precautions against droplets and contact in prevention of nosocomial transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars). The Lancet, 361(9368), 1519–1520. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(03)13168-6
- Siu, A., & Wong, R. Y. C. (2004). Economic Impact of SARS: The Case of Hong Kong. Asian Economic Papers, 3(1), 62-83. https://doi.org/10.1162/1535351041747996
- Tian, Y., & Stewart, C. M. (2005). Framing the sars crisis: A computer-assisted text analysis of cnn and bbc online news reports of sars. Asian Journal of Communication, 15(3), 289-301. https://doi.org/10.1080/01292980500261605
- Valkenburg, P. M., Semetko, H. A., & De Vreese, C. H. (1999). The effects of news frames on readers’ thoughts and recall. Communication Research, 26(5), 550–569. https://doi.org/10.1177/009365099026005002
- Wallis, P., & Nerlich, B. (2005). Disease metaphors in new epidemics: the UK media framing of the 2003 SARS epidemic. Sociological Science Medicine, 60(11), 2629-2639. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2004.11.031
- WHO (2020). Novel coronavirus - China January 12, 2020. Retrieved on 26 January 2020 from http://www.who.int/csr/don/12-january-2020-novel-coronavirus-china/en/
- World Health Organization. (2003). Consensus document on the epidemiology of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) (No. WHO/CDS/CSR/GAR/2003.11). World Health Organization.
- Wimmer, R. D., & Dominick, J. R. (2006). Mass media research, An introduction. Wadsworth Publishing: Belmont.
- Yu, N., Frohlich, D. O., Fougner, J., & Ren, L. (2011). Communicating a Health Epidemic: A Risk Assessment of the Swine Flu Coverage in US Newspapers. International Public Health Journal 3(1, Special Issue on “Health Risk Communication”), 63-76.