1. bookVolume 70 (2022): Issue 3 (August 2022)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2449-9471
First Published
15 Apr 2015
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

Irish audiences and news information from official sources during Covid-19

Published Online: 05 Aug 2022
Volume & Issue: Volume 70 (2022) - Issue 3 (August 2022)
Page range: 7 - 32
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2449-9471
First Published
15 Apr 2015
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

Audiences exist in highly personalised, high-choice media environments built on a hybrid of established traditional brands and informal digital networks. Officials trying to reach the public must navigate such spaces, but public reluctance to consume news coverage is a challenge for health and government officials when trying to communicate with and inform the public during a national health crisis like Covid-19. Based on a representative survey (N=2,031) from the 2021 Reuters Digital News Report, this article focuses on Irish audiences’ information sources during the pandemic; in particular, how government and political sources were used and perceived. The article is a secondary analysis of the data set and focuses on three questions from the survey related to (i) sources of information about Covid-19, (ii) concern about sources of false or misleading information about Covid-19, and (iii) sources of local information about politics and local updates on Covid-19. The article finds that official sources were relatively effective in being heard, and that health agencies like the Health Service Executive and the National Public Health Emergency Team were more salient than politicians, suggesting the pandemic was perhaps apolitical in the eyes of the public, which is often a key strategy for effective crisis communication. Politicians and government actors also succeeded in not being perceived as the main source of concern in terms of false or misleading information, as audiences were more worried about activists. The article also reiterates the importance of health officials reaching out beyond traditional news distribution channels to engage groups who may not access news through traditional channels.

Keywords

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