Mapping National News Reports on COVID-19 in Australia: Topics, Sources, and Imagined Audiences

Holland K and Lewis M (2021) 'Mapping national news reports on COVID-19 in Australia: Topics, sources and imagined audiences', in Communicating COVID-19: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (ed. M Lewis, E Govender and K Holland), Palgrave Macmillan: London.

23 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2021 Last revised: 10 Aug 2021

See all articles by Kate Holland

Kate Holland

University of Canberra - Faculty of Arts and Design

Monique Lewis

Griffith University; Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research

Date Written: March 8, 2021

Abstract

News media across the world have played an important role in contributing to public discourse about the COVID-19 pandemic, including the actions being taken by governments to prevent and contain its spread and the role of citizens in the public health response. In this chapter, we analyse news reporting on the pandemic in The Australian newspaper and ABC News Online in Australia between February and August 2020. Our constructed week sampling approach examined news reports across 24 days with particular attention to the topics and sources included in the coverage and the ways in which audiences were addressed in the stories. Conceptually, we take as our starting point Briggs and Hallin’s framework of ‘biomediatisation’ and three predominant models of ‘biocommunicability’ that they identify in health news: biomedical authority, patient-consumer and public sphere. These models variously position social actors in active or passive roles in relation to the flow of health information. Our analysis explores the presence of these models in news coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and whether or not adaptations or new models are better suited to capture some of the particular characteristics of this profoundly mediatised pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19; COVID; coronavirus; biocommunicability; biomediatisation; news reporting; Australia; public health

Suggested Citation

Holland, Kate and Lewis, Monique, Mapping National News Reports on COVID-19 in Australia: Topics, Sources, and Imagined Audiences (March 8, 2021). Holland K and Lewis M (2021) 'Mapping national news reports on COVID-19 in Australia: Topics, sources and imagined audiences', in Communicating COVID-19: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (ed. M Lewis, E Govender and K Holland), Palgrave Macmillan: London., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3863028 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3863028

Kate Holland

University of Canberra - Faculty of Arts and Design ( email )

Australia

Monique Lewis (Contact Author)

Griffith University ( email )

Gold Coast Campus
Southport, Queensland 4222
Australia
+61 7 5552 8002 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Monique_Lewis3

Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research ( email )

Nathan Campus
Nathan, Queensland 4111
Australia

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