Research plan

The aim of the project is to provide new insights into the dynamics of crises news and information ecosystems during the Covid19 pandemic, where information production and information dissemination are increasingly complex and include multiple different actors. The project produces new information and understanding about the roles of information providers in a crisis and the ways in which citizens acquire and evaluate crisis information and the roles of information providers.

The main research questions are: 

i) what is the local ecosystem for crisis information like, 

ii) what kind of roles and relationships have been built for the various media and communication actors in the ecosystem when dealing with the pandemic crisis, and 

iii) how have people acquired, made meaning out of and produced local crisis information.

The project draws from research on media ecosystems, the roles of journalism, as well as journalism and public health crises. The roles of journalism have been studied, among other things, using the concept of journalistic role performance – what roles are constructed for journalism and journalists in crisis-related content (Hanitzsch & Vos 2017; Mellado & Van Dalen 2014) .

The project is in nature a case study. The Oulu region and its local media, in general, have been selected as the target. The project is based on research on media ecosystems, the roles of journalism as well as journalism and public health crises. Collected empirical material illuminates the phenomenon from different perspectives. It consists partly of a qualitative content analysis of local news information and communication about the corona pandemic and a supplementary national survey for key actors in the news media, and partly of a survey aimed at the general public of the place of the case as well as in-depth qualitative thematic interviews.


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