Taylor's FSLM Journals
Dominant voices in the time of a global disaster: Representation of science in online news reportage of the COVID-19 pandemic

@ SEARCH Journal of Media and Communication Research

Online ISSN: 2672-7080

Racquel Garcia-Agustin & *Jaime Zeus Agustin


With regard to global health crises, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, when reliance on scientific information is crucial, it would be interesting to establish how much “voice” or space is given to scientists and their opinions or information in science news stories, which are the public’s main source of information. Anchored on Nisbet’s (2009) news framing theory, Goldemberg’s (1998) roles of science, and Druckman and Parkin’s (2005) measurement of space, this paper aims to analyse the coverage of two online news portals – CNN Philippines and CNN International – to uncover the news frames, roles of science, and dominant voices found in science news articles published from January to May 2020. The study analysed a total of 40 science news articles and identified their overarching messages, implied roles of science and spaces provided for attributions. Both news portal differed in terms of framing and portrayed roles of science; CNN Philippines’ science news articles were generally framed as calls for precaution and directed at being involved in government while CNN International’s articles generally conveyed scientific uncertainty with the purpose of informing and educating. However, both news portals provided substantial space in their science news article for the voices of scientists and experts.

Keywords: Science communication, COVID-19, pandemic, science news, news framing, attributions