Causes of the Infodemic Outbreak: Media Coverage of the SARS Epidemic and the COVID-19 Pandemic Comparative Analysis

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Abstract


The article raises the problem of the destructive impact of the infodemic phenomenon on the life of the society. In order to understand the today’s infodemic the author suggests conducting a comparative analysis of the media coverage of the SARS epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic to identify common features in the work of editorial teams during such global challenges as an outbreak of a new dangerous disease. After having analyzed all relevant aspects the author arrives to conclusion that the key features and characteristics of the process, which in 2020 was called “infodemic”, also took place during the SARS in 2003. Given the fact that the media have been following the same concept of coverage for years, it can be assumed that during a new pandemic, journalists will make the same mistakes and let infodemic get in the way of spreading truthful information again. Having analyzed in detail the algorithms of media coverage of the two mentioned pandemics, the author raises the following questions: increasing responsibility of media towards their target audiences for publishing fake news; deeper fact-checking of information that could pose a threat to the society.


About the authors

Alexander V. Zemlyanskiy

Moscow State Pedagogical University

Author for correspondence.
Email: av.zemlyanskii@mpgu.su
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4795-0102
1 Malaya Pirogovskaya, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation

Candidate of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor, Journalism and Media Communications Department, Institute of Journalism, Communications and Media Education

References

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