Narratives and Media on Pandemic

University

It has been more than 14 weeks when media broke first story on Novel Coronavirus, since then it has not only affected our lifestyles but media consuming habits also. Media is spreading information about its spread, safety, advisories and misinformation too using fake news and rumors. When countries all over the world are waging war against COVID-19 using best of the infrastructure and biggest lockdowns of the history to contain the virus, common man is glued to various forms of media to have latest updates of the situation. Media is providing round the clock information about the steps taken by government, political leaders, NGOs, public and private organizations at the time of house arrest. The dynamics of media management are also changing on the daily basis. So, it becomes imperative to study the narratives of media during such an unprecedented crisis.

These days when everyone is under the lockdown it is just media that has been playing linking pin between government and citizen. Every country has been doing their bit in making people aware about this pandemic.  The politicians are putting efforts to reach out to the citizens who are in the dire need of food and other daily necessities. School of Journalism and Mass Communication took up the challenge to study how media is playing their role of updating and creating awareness about COVID-19. The students are working on projects to find out role of radio in spearing awareness, use of social media by celebrities to motivate citizens to support and cooperate during lockdown. The project will also explore how government is utilizing power of social media to win war against COVID-19 pandemic.

The student-centric project deals with studying and analysing media strategies adopted by different countries to spread awareness about COVID-19. With lowered internet rates and cost-effective smartphones fuelled with vast infrastructure available for communication, users are glued to social media for many hours a day. Students are closely studying different media like government websites, twitter, Facebook and YouTube channels of various countries affected by Corona Virus. Through this project students will be able to co- relate how awareness can impact increase or decrease in number of COVID cases. This project will also give comparative analysis of media strategies being adopted by different countries in the wake of COVID-19.

Another platform which is playing its role in effective way is ‘Radio’. Radio is considered as most important mass media in developing countries and 99 percent people in Indian rural areas have access to this media. Radio is the most credible source of information in the era of fake news. According to BBC, people staying at home due to coronavirus pandemic appear to be listening more radio than any other music apps which makes the study of radio as tool to create awareness during COVID-19 focusing on information context and content very essential. Students are conducting studies to find the role what kind of role All India Radio and BBC are playing in the hour of pandemic.

Lockdown is a period when everybody is at home and even Indian celebrities are struck at their homes. These celebrities are so much admired and followed by their followers that during this period they are communicating to their fans through social media. In this project students are studying the tweets of selected celebrities for the period of 21 days with the followership of more than 5 million. These celebrities inspired their followers in many ways. They are posting about their moments of solitude and retweets about how they are trying to promote the need of Staying at home to stay healthy.

The outcome of these projects will be helpful for academic and professional bodies to understand role and contribution of media in fighting the pandemic. The findings will add to the existing knowledge. These projects are our contribution to the war against Corona. #GOCORONA