This project examines media representations of COVID-19 from an intersectional perspective; specifically, the project interrogates how mainstream media reaffirm and/or contest the intensification of inequalities in the context of a pandemic. We address this question through a dual lens: focussing on
- (i.) the narrative representations (in news-making)
- (ii.) visual representations (in data visualisations) of the pandemic in mainstream media.
We will analyse data from across the world – USA, UK, Brazil, South Africa, Italy, Hungary, Germany, Spain, Russia, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India and Pakistan – in order to understand how inequalities, especially as these relate to gender, class, and race, are reaffirmed and/or contested in mainstream media. Our key hypothesis is that COVID-related news representations are located within an axis, with economic life at the one end of the spectrum and socio-cultural life (incl. wellbeing) on the other.
We want to understand how news balance between the two extremes across time and space. We thus concentrate on three key temporal moments in the pandemic (assuming that those moments represent key points in the formation of global debates on COVID-19) and we are examining different spaces, especially as these are understood as distinct national mediascapes (though we assume certain fluidity within and across them). The three periods we focus on are:
- (1) April 2020 (first period – debate on COVID as a global concern emerges);
- (2) October 2020 (second period – rising second wave or concerns of second wave and interconnected transnational debates on measures, including travel bans, etc);
- (3) January 2021 (third period – way to “resolution” with vaccine becoming globally debated and rolled out).
You can find more information about the project here.