Marco Mazzoni, Susanna Pagiotti, Anna Stanziano, Roberto Mincigrucci, Sofia Verza

The coverage of Covid-19 in a polarized media system: an analysis of the role of the median in times of pandemic

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Covid-19, press coverage, journalistic service role, narrative expedients

During a pandemic, the media play a crucial role. Through their work, they can be valuable allies for those who exercise government roles and must manage a crisis of this magnitude. For example, the use of alarmist frames or highly emotional and dramatized narrative expedients can fuel a sense of vulnerability in public opinion, thus helping institutions to indirectly enforce and respect strongly stringent and limiting rules for personal freedom but essential to counter the spread of the virus. The media can also play a «service role» directly, that is provide practical indications on the rules to follow and the habits to adopt, helping readers to manage the problems and risks of everyday life. The Italian case is an excellent case study to analyze the role of the press during the pandemic, because it represents a clear example of a «polarized pluralist» model of journalism, characterized by high levels of polarization and politicization and where this «service role» of journalism is not commonly exercised. Analyzing the coverage of the Italian press in two key moments of the spread of the pandemic, this paper aims to outline the role played by the press in the management of the Covid-19 emergency and its contribution to the spread of the policies implemented by the Government to fight the virus

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