INFLUENCE OF NEWSPAPER FRAMING OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON READERS' PERCEPTION OF THE VIRUS

Chinedu Igboeli, Ezebuenyi Ephraim Ejimnkeonye

Abstract


This study investigated the influence of newspaper framing of Covid-19 pandemic on readers’ perception of the virus. The thrust of the study was to ascertain whether the way newspapers select, package and present news stories on the novel Coronavirus affected the way readers of Daily Sun, Vanguard and National Light newspapers in Awka Metropolis view the virus. Specific objectives of the study are among others to: access the patterns of frames used in reporting stories on Covid-19; ascertain respondents’ frequency of exposure to newspaper reports on COVID-19; know whether the way newspapers report COVID-19 pandemic creates the desired awareness against the spread of the virus; ascertain respondents’ perception of newspaper reportage of COVID-19; find out whether the way newspapers select, package and present (frame) stories on COVID-19 influenced respondents’ views about the virus. The study was anchored on agenda setting theory. The mixed research design was adopted in carrying out the study. This entails using both the survey and content analysis methods. For the survey method, 386 respondents were selected from the projected population of Awka Metropolis. For the content analysis method, 264 editions were randomly selected from the three select newspapers Findings from the study revealed among others that: seven patterns of frames were used in reporting stories on Covid-19 by the three select newspapers within the period of the study; a more than two-thirds majority of the respondents had high exposure to newspaper reports of COVID-19; majority of the respondents accede that the way newspapers report stories on COVID-19 creates awareness against its spread; majority of the respondents had positive perception on newspaper reportage of COVID-19 and finally, majority of the respondents accede that the way newspapers report COVID-19 influenced the way they view the virus. The study concludes among others that way the media frame issues has the ability to influence audience perception of a particular event and that selection and packaging of the novel Coronavirus enjoys positive reactions in the media. The study recommends among others that: that the Nigerian press should endeavour to select appropriate news angles in reporting public health stories to stem the tendencies of creating rumours and misinformation. This also has the benefit of causing the polity to trust the media in their interpretations of health situations.


Keywords


Influence; Framing; Newspapers; COVID-19; Readers; Awka Metropolis;

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.47851/naujocommed.v2i1.112

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