Portrait of Thorsten Quandt
© Thorsten Quandt

Journalism in the Coronavirus Crisis

Three thematic issues of Digital Journalism and Journalism Studies on Covid-19

(22.11.2021) The pandemic is not only a crisis for global health and social systems, but also a critical moment for journalism. On the one hand, this demonstrates the need for independent and well-founded reporting, but at the same time also the difficulty of neutral, equally critical monitoring of complex social constellations. In addition to traditional news providers, ideologically colored "alternative media" from the Internet are emerging as new competition, and traditional journalism is being criticized around the globe for being too close to the government, or alternatively for a "false balance" and for paying too much attention to extreme minority positions. The latest issue of the journal "Digital Journalism" takes up this topical issue and gathers a dozen contributions on Covid-19. The 'Special Issue' is edited by IfK professor Thorsten Quandt with his colleague Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, and it is just the prelude to further publications.

The thematic issue, entitled "Covering Covid-19: The Coronavirus Pandemic as a Critical Moment for Digital Journalism", is part of a total of three thematic special issues of the world-leading journals Digital Journalism and Journalism Studies. In response to the 2020 call for research papers, the editorial team received nearly 200 submissions, expanding the original planned Special Issue to three issues. Another themed issue of Digital Journalism and one of Journalism Studies will be published in spring 2022. 

The current issue offers a multifaceted overview of global research on the topic. It becomes clear that there is no single Coronavirus situation for journalism, but that problems and perspectives are quite different around the world. In addition, however, it becomes clear that the crisis nature is also being felt elsewhere – with problems of access to sources, restrictions on work, and increasing economic, political, and social pressures. The collection of essays is introduced with a theoretical essay by editors Quandt and Wahl-Jorgensen on the pandemic crisis as a "critical moment".

It is complemented by a commentary by the incoming president of the International Communication Association, Eun-Ju Lee (Seoul National University).

Other authors include world-leading experts such as former ICA President Claes de Vreese (University of Amsterdam), Peter van Aelst (University of Antwerp), Claudia Mellado (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso), Dan Hallin (University of California San Diego), Shangyuan Wu (National University of Singapore), Lambrini Papadopoulou (Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens), Jing Zeng and Mike S. Schäfer (University of Zurich), Phillip Santos and Admire Mare (Namibia University of Science and Technology), Sebastián Valenzuela (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile) – to name but a few. A total of 60 scholars contributed to the edition, which is available in partial open access.

Digital Journalism, Volume 9, Issue 9 (2021)

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