Covering COVID-19: How Australian media reported the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020

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Abstract

This report presents the findings of a comprehensive study of the volume, patterns and nature of Australian journalists’ reporting of the COVID-19 global health crisis during 2020. Researchers from the University of Canberra’s News and Media Research Centre and media monitoring company Streem identified 2,549,143 distinct news items about COVID-19 across online, television, radio and print media between January and November 2020. Items were coded into four themes, 14 categories and 37 distinct topics. We analysed how news media reporting contributed to the construction of the COVID-19 crisis in the context of the societal forces and factors that shape news and the processes and practices of journalistic decision-making. We note the logistical, financial and emotional pressures on the news media industry tasked with reporting on this unprecedented event and the subsequent volume of news it generated. The COVID-19 pandemic dominated Australian news in 2020. Its scope, severity and ubiquity gave news audiences an unquenchable thirst for news, while intense and relentless news media reporting formed the backdrop to the public’s everyday experience of the pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCanberra
PublisherNews and Media Research Centre
Number of pages48
ISBN (Print)9781740885195
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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