meistudies, 3º Congresso Internacional Media Ecology and Image Studies - Democracia, meios e pandemia

Tamanho da fonte: 
Media all over the world face the coronavirus crisis; How international digital media deal with public issues
Ana Serrano Tellería, Javier Díaz Noci

Última alteração: 2020-11-23

Resumo (***Se sua proposta foi apresentada no I Congreso Internacional COMERTEC, favor informar ao final do resumo expandido***)

In December 2019, Chinese authorities informed the World Health Organization about a new coronavirus disease that would come to be called Covid-19. The world media began reporting on this new virus and its consequences. However, reports about Covid-19 would not appear in the European and American media until their societies became aware of both the health and economic consequences of Covid-19 in March 2020. This proposal analyzes the online media coverage of economic inequality. The goal is to understand the formation of the public agenda, based on the impact of the disease on social classes as the main factor generating greater inequality levels, in particular inequality of opportunities as the most remarkable topic during the first stage of the pandemic. According to the first results of this content analysis, the social class divide will be deepened by the pandemic. For this study, a tool was designed to analyze both the manifest and latent content of the items. Using content analysis, an analysis of news published by 33 digital media in both Europe and Latin America from March 14 to April 14, 2020 was conducted. The results of this study show that income inequality appears as the core variable of the problem, although social classes remain important. The imbalanced access to health and education public services also receives continuous coverage in the media. However, poverty as a consequence of this situation remains an uncomfortable issue and tends to be presented in an undramatized way.

On the last day of 2019, December 31, Chinese authorities reported a new coronavirus disease that would later be called Covid-19 to the World Health Organization. It is most likely that the disease started some months before, but it can be assumed that the world media started covering the new virus and its consequences for human health during the very first days of 2020. The consequences are not only health related but also economic: the authorities ordered people to obey a lockdown, first in China and later in practically all the countries on the whole planet. A generalized economic crisis is foreseen, and as a result, it is also taken for granted that an increase in inequality will occur.

However, this would only appear as a specific, focused topic in European and American media when their societies finally became aware of the health problem and a general lockdown was ordered. It was only in that precise moment that concern regarding the economic consequences of the pandemic appeared in the major media in Spain, where the lockdown and the state of alarm began on March 14, 2020. Thereafter, the different types of economic inequality were mentioned regularly. During the first month of the pandemic in Europe and America – the period on which we focus in this article – clear signals of fear regarding an economic slowdown, generalized social crisis, and higher levels of inequity were published in the major digital media of many countries.

The topic of this research is how societies can ensure everyone’s wealth and equality of opportunities, and avoid economic resources becoming concentrated in the hands of very few people at the expense of the majority of the population.

* This proposal is part of the overall coordinated national R+D+i project “News, Networks and Users in the Hybrid Media System (Newsnet)”, subproject: “Transformation of News and Media Industry in the Post-Industrial Era”, coordinated as principal investigators by Associate Professor Ana Serrano Tellería and Full Professor Javier Díaz Noci of the Spanish R+D+I calling ‘Challenges of Society’. Reference: RTI2018-095775-B-C43. Three years: April 2019-April 2022. Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities.


Covid-19; Coronavirus; Pandemics; Digital media; Income inequality; Inequality of opportunities; Digital journalism; Spain; Europe; Latin America; Social classes.

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