Media Use in Crisis Situations: Resolving Information Paradoxes, Comparing Climate Change and COVID-19

Projekter: ProjektForskning



This project studies media use amongst Norwegian citizens in relation to two complex societal crisis situations: the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. Through innovative qualitative methods and an interdisciplinary approach, the project resolves paradoxes in the communication of crisis in digital societies.

In a digital media environment with abundant information, the media is key to how people encounter crisis situations, even those that are also experienced personally through changing everyday circumstances. Social media, journalism and smartphones are all part of crisis communication, but rarely studied from a cross-media perspective rooted in citizens’ everyday lives. Media are also key to how experts and governing bodies communicate to citizens, and societal risk management depends on understanding media use to maintain trust and mobilize for desired action. However, our understanding of societal crisis communication is riddled with paradoxes, made evident in the contrast between the drastic measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of large-scale climate action, in spite of extensive media coverage and severe warnings. We know that information is not enough, but not how or when it matters, how it is received and interpreted in everyday contexts.

This project resolves such paradoxes by conducting qualitative ethnographic research on how people encounter climate change and COVID-19 across media and in local communities in Norway, analyzing information in context, and considering challenges in the digitalization of media use, including digital misinformation and infection tracing apps. With an interdisciplinary project team and approach, the project combines media use studies, journalism, human geography and political psychology to develop a novel, citizen-focused perspective on media use in crisis situations, applied to solve persistent paradoxes and produce actionable knowledge through stakeholder collaborations.
Effektiv start/slut dato01/09/202101/10/2024