Examining Social Media Crisis Communication during Early COVID-19 from Public Health and News Media for Quality, Content and Corresponding Public Sentiment

Author(s):  
Melissa MacKay ◽  
Taylor Colangeli ◽  
Daniel Gillis ◽  
Jennifer McWhirter ◽  
Andrew Papadopoulos

Rising COVID-19 cases in Canada in early 2021, coupled with pervasive mis- and disinformation, demonstrate the critical relationship between effective crisis communication, trust, and risk protective measure adherence by the public. Trust in crisis communication is affected by the communication’s characteristics including transparency, timeliness, empathy, and clarity, as well as the source and communication channels used. Crisis communication occurs in a rhetorical arena where various actors, including public health, news media, and the public, are co-producing and responding to messages. Rhetorical arenas must be monitored to assess the acceptance of messaging. The quality and content of Canadian public health and news media crisis communication on Facebook were evaluated to understand the use of key guiding principles of effective crisis communication, the focus of the communication, and subsequent public emotional response to included posts. Four hundred and thirty-eight posts and 26,774 anonymized comments were collected and analyzed. Overall, the guiding principles for effective crisis communication were inconsistently applied and combined. A limited combination of guiding principles, especially those that demonstrate trustworthiness, was likely driving the negative sentiment uncovered in the comments. Public health and news media should use the guiding principles consistently to increase positive sentiment and build trust among followers.

Author(s):  
Alonzo L. Plough

This chapter describes the multiple roles of modern media in determining not only what consumers know, but also how and what they think. The exponential growth of ideologically driven cable channels and social media, dovetailing with cutbacks in newspaper staffing and coverage, point to the many ways that the power and reach of media are shifting even as they continue to reshape American society and norms. In this environment, multiple media compete for viewers, readers, and listeners who will click on their websites, buy their products, sign their petitions, and often accept their spin, especially if it reinforces personal perspectives. Thoughtful information about complex public health issues is easily lost in that context, leading too many people to base their decision-making on incomplete, biased, and even inaccurate information. For the news media to help build a Culture of Health, people need to understand how it works, what it does, and how it can be used for widespread benefit.


Author(s):  
Abbigail J. Tumpey ◽  
David Daigle ◽  
Glen Nowak

Effective communication during an outbreak or public health investigation is crucial for fostering adoption of public health recommendations and minimizing or preventing harm. During outbreaks, a comprehensive communication strategy integrating news media, social media, and partner engagement is essential for reaching affected persons and for keeping everyone informed about public health actions and recommendations. The strategies outlined in this chapter are the foundation for rapidly and effectively conveying information and public health recommendations to the persons at risk, the media, and the different entities involved in the response. Regardless of the public health event’s cause, core communication actions and steps will be similar; however, in every outbreak or public health investigation, perceptions and needs will vary among target audiences, partners (i.e., persons or organizations that can play a role in the crisis response), and persons or organizations with a connection or interest in the outbreak (stakeholders).


2021 ◽  
Author(s):  
Antony Chum ◽  
Andrew Nielsen ◽  
Zachary Bellows ◽  
Eddie Farrell ◽  
Pierre-Nicolas Durette ◽  
...  

Background: News media coverage of anti-mask protests, COVID-19 conspiracies, and pandemic politicization has overemphasized extreme views, but does little to represent views of the general public. Investigating the public’s response to various pandemic restrictions can provide a more balanced assessment of current views, allowing policymakers to craft better public health messages in anticipation of poor reactions to controversial restrictions. Objective: Using data from social media, this study aims to understand the changes in public opinion associated with the implementation of COVID-19 restrictions (e.g. business and school closure, regional lockdown differences, additional public health restrictions such as social distancing and masking). Methods: COVID-related tweets in Ontario (n=1,150,362) were collected based on keywords between March 12 to Oct 31 2020. Sentiment scores were calculated using the VADER algorithm for each tweet to represent its negative to positive emotion. Public health restrictions were identified using government and news media websites, and dynamic regression models with ARIMA errors were used to examine the association between public health restrictions and changes in public opinion over time (i.e. collective attention, aggregate positive sentiment, and level of disagreement) controlling for the effects of confounders (i.e. daily COVID-19 case counts, holidays, COVID-related official updates). Results: In addition to expected direct effects (e.g. business closure led to decreased positive sentiment and increased disagreements), the impact of restriction on public opinion is contextually driven. For example, the negative sentiment associated with business closures was reduced with higher COVID-19 case counts. While school closure and other restrictions (e.g. masking, social distancing, and travel restrictions) generated increased collective attention, they did not have an effect on aggregate sentiment or the level of disagreement (i.e. sentiment polarization). Partial (region-targeted) lockdowns were associated with better public response (i.e. higher number of tweets with net positive sentiment and lower levels of disagreement) compared to province-wide lockdowns. Conclusions: Our study demonstrates the feasibility of a rapid and flexible method of evaluating the public response to pandemic restrictions using near real-time social media data. This information can help public health practitioners and policymakers anticipate public response to future pandemic restrictions, and ensure adequate


2021 ◽  
Author(s):  
Antony Chum ◽  
Andrew Nielsen ◽  
Zachary Bellows ◽  
Eddie Farrell ◽  
Pierre-Nicolas Durette ◽  
...  

BACKGROUND News media coverage of anti-mask protests, COVID-19 conspiracies, and pandemic politicization has overemphasized extreme views, but does little to represent views of the general public. Investigating the public’s response to various pandemic restrictions can provide a more balanced assessment of current views, allowing policymakers to craft better public health messages in anticipation of poor reactions to controversial restrictions. OBJECTIVE Using data from social media, this study aims to understand the changes in public opinion associated with the implementation of COVID-19 restrictions (e.g. business and school closure, regional lockdown differences, additional public health restrictions such as social distancing and masking). METHODS COVID-related tweets in Ontario (n=1,150,362) were collected based on keywords between March 12 to Oct 31 2020. Sentiment scores were calculated using the VADER algorithm for each tweet to represent its negative to positive emotion. Public health restrictions were identified using government and news media websites, and dynamic regression models with ARIMA errors were used to examine the association between public health restrictions and changes in public opinion over time (i.e. collective attention, aggregate positive sentiment, and level of disagreement) controlling for the effects of confounders (i.e. daily COVID-19 case counts, holidays, COVID-related official updates). RESULTS In addition to expected direct effects (e.g. business closure led to decreased positive sentiment and increased disagreements), the impact of restriction on public opinion is contextually driven. For example, the negative sentiment associated with business closures was reduced with higher COVID-19 case counts. While school closure and other restrictions (e.g. masking, social distancing, and travel restrictions) generated increased collective attention, they did not have an effect on aggregate sentiment or the level of disagreement (i.e. sentiment polarization). Partial (region-targeted) lockdowns were associated with better public response (i.e. higher number of tweets with net positive sentiment and lower levels of disagreement) compared to province-wide lockdowns. CONCLUSIONS Our study demonstrates the feasibility of a rapid and flexible method of evaluating the public response to pandemic restrictions using near real-time social media data. This information can help public health practitioners and policymakers anticipate public response to future pandemic restrictions, and ensure adequate resources are dedicated to addressing increases in negative sentiment and levels of disagreement in the face of scientifically informed, but controversial, restrictions.


BMJ Open ◽  
2018 ◽  
Vol 8 (1) ◽  
pp. e019833 ◽  
Author(s):  
Guillaume Fontaine ◽  
Andréane Lavallée ◽  
Marc-André Maheu-Cadotte ◽  
Julien Bouix-Picasso ◽  
Anne Bourbonnais

IntroductionThe optimisation of health science communication (HSC) between researchers and the public is crucial. In the last decade, the rise of the digital and social media ecosystem allowed for the disintermediation of HSC. Disintermediation refers to the public’s direct access to information from researchers about health science-related topics through the digital and social media ecosystem, a process that would otherwise require a human mediator, such as a journalist. Therefore, the primary aim of this scoping review is to describe the nature and the extent of the literature regarding HSC strategies involving disintermediation used by researchers with the public in the digital and social media ecosystem. The secondary aim is to describe the HSC strategies used by researchers, and the communication channels associated with these strategies.Methods and analysisWe will conduct a scoping review based on the Joanna Briggs Institute’s methodology and perform a systematic search of six bibliographical databases (CINAHL, EMBASE, IBSS, PubMed, Sociological Abstracts and Web of Science), four trial registries and relevant sources of grey literature. Relevant journals and reference lists of included records will be hand-searched. Data will be managed using the EndNote software and the Rayyan web application. Two review team members will perform independently the screening process as well as the full-text assessment of included records. Descriptive data will be synthesised in a tabular format. Data regarding the nature and the extent of the literature, the HSC strategies and the associated communication channels will be presented narratively.Ethics and disseminationThis review does not require institutional review board approval as we will use only collected and published data. Results will allow the mapping of the literature about HSC between researchers and the public in the digital and social media ecosystem, and will be published in a peer-reviewed journal.


2020 ◽  
pp. 000765032092896
Author(s):  
Daniel Vogler ◽  
Mark Eisenegger

By using social media, corporations can communicate about their corporate social responsibility (CSR) to the public without having to pass through the gatekeeping function of the news media. However, to what extent can corporations influence the public’s evaluation of their CSR activities with social media activities and if the legacy news media still act as the primary agenda setters when it comes to corporate reputation have not yet been thoroughly analyzed in a digitized media environment. This study addressed this research gap by looking at the effect of CSR communication through Facebook and news media coverage of CSR on corporate reputation in Switzerland. The results of this longitudinal study show that the salience and tone of news media coverage of CSR were positively related to corporate reputation, even though the news media coverage about CSR was predominantly negative. Thus, reputation was still strengthened even in the face of negative publicity. No effect of CSR communication through Facebook on corporate reputation was found. The results suggest that legacy news media still were influential in determining how the public evaluates corporations in the digital age.


Journalism ◽  
2018 ◽  
Vol 21 (5) ◽  
pp. 633-651 ◽  
Author(s):  
Theo Araujo ◽  
Toni GLA van der Meer

Since news circulation increasingly takes place online, the public has gained the capacity to influence the salience of topics on the agenda, especially when it comes to social media. Considering increased scrutiny about organizations, this study aims to understand what causes heightened activity to organization-related topics among Twitter users. We explore the extent to which news value theory, news coverage, and influential actors can explain peaks in Twitter activity about organizations. Based on a dataset of 1.8 million tweets about 18 organizations, the findings show that the news values social impact, geographical closeness, facticity, as well as certain influential actors, can explain the intensity of online activities. Moreover, the results advocate for a more nuanced understanding of the relation between news media and social media users, as indications of reversed agenda-setting patterns were observed.


2018 ◽  
Vol 167 (1) ◽  
pp. 57-70 ◽  
Author(s):  
Caroline Fisher ◽  
David Marshall ◽  
Kerry McCallum

Traditionally politicians have been dependent on political news media to get their message across to the public. The rise of social media means that politicians can bypass the Press Gallery and publish directly to their target audiences via Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. This article argues that Prime Minister John Howard’s (1996–2007) use of talk back radio and early forays on YouTube were pivotal in the trend towards ‘disintermediation’ in Australian politics. It draws on two studies. One involving interviews with 87 key media actors from the Howard era including journalists, broadcasters, politicians and media advisers; and a second, which includes fresh interviews with contemporary press secretaries. This article examines the shift from a ‘mass media logic’ to a ‘hybrid logic’, considered from a mediatization theoretical position. We also ask important questions about the press gallery’s ongoing relevance in the digital era, when politicians preside over their own social media empires.


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