John V. Pavlik
As COVID-19 continues to devastate the world, journalism is adapting itself as the public seeks trustworthy news and reliable information about the pandemic. Focused primarily on the U.S. but with key international points of comparison for context, this article looks at how news media in 2020 adapted to the challenges caused by the pandemic to the journalism industry — already disrupted by a host of forces, including digital technologies, changing economics, and a sharply divided cultural and political environment — and how the public has responded. Employing a meta-analysis of published research, data examined here indicate that the public has engaged the news at high levels, while news media have utilised new storytelling tools and technologies to create more accurate, interactive, immersive and mobile news content. Problems of misinformation, fuelled by social media, and other concerns persist, including a growing digital divide that may undermine the role of journalism as a source of independent, truthful and accessible news in a democratic society.
Keywords: COVID-19, journalism, news, accuracy, interactivity, immersion, mobile, multi-sensory