Media Coverage of COVID-19 Around the World

Eve Critton
Anya M. Schiffrin
May 10, 2020

As the world struggles to cope with the new realities of the COVID-19 era, the dissemination of accurate information has never been more important. People around the world rely on their nation’s media, whether state-sponsored or independent, to make sense of the rapidly changing state of affairs and because they need to hear accurate public health messaging. Coverage differs across borders and regions. In many Asian countries, the media is laudatory of state leadership and containment measures, while U.S. media remains polarized along party lines.

Anya Schiffrin has been teaching a SIPA course on global media for about 15 years and brought students together with Columbia Journalism School PhD candidate Alexandre Gonçalves to analyze how different countries are framing COVID-19. A deep dive into the media coverage in seven countries over a two-month period unearths interesting trends that help paint a clearer picture of different media narratives in the time of COVID-19. Over the next week, we will share our key findings from SingaporeGermanyVietnamChina, the Philippines, and Brazil. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is a necessary first step in understanding the new media landscape around the world.

Portions of the research that we will share this week appeared previously on SIPA’s website.

Eve Critton is a Masters of Public Administration student at Columbia University. She plans to continue working in urbanism and the public realm after graduation.

Anya Schiffrin is a senior lecturer at SIPA and the director of the Technology, Media and Communications Specialization. She has been working with Gonçalves since 2016.

Eve Critton,  Zheying Feng, Yiting  Gao, Murilo Nascimento Salviano Gomes,  Andrea Greenstein, Breno Lemos Pires, Katie Pearson, Lei Zhu,  Kumgyu  Sun, Bei Lin Teo, Jueni Tran, Wendy Morphew all contributed to the class research cited above.  

We thank others who contributed to the class discussions: Christina Flammia, Hanna Homestead, Isabelle Lee, Murilo Nascimento Salviano Gomes, and Mengtong Wang.