Blame it on the COVID-19? : Content analysis of articles published by SVT following the COVID-19 outbreak
Abstract: Catastrophes, be it natural or not, have always served as a time to reform, a time to awaken slumbering ideas and notions or simply a time to be taken advantage of. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan in December 2019 and later in Sweden at the end of January 2020 there have been several actors who took advantage of the situation to benefit their own agenda. The purpose of this paper is to study to what extent the content of articles published by Sveriges Television, Swedish Television, between March 29th and April 2nd 2020 have a populist tendency. A search parameter based on the factors such as: timeframe, searchable keywords are utilised to create a dataset from which the study can conduct its analysis. The keywords are describing the operationalisation of the theoretical framework. Furthermore, the analysis of the dataset aims to determine whether the crisis is in fact being exploited. This is achieved by utilising theory on populism to form themes that through a directed content analysis can provide insight. The findings of the thesis are that out of the 226 articles published during the period 34,9% showed a populist tendency. However, a manual sorting of the articles with a populist tendency followed, to sort out the articles where the issue was in themselves unrelated to COVID-19. An analysis of these articles was conducted using the themes and questionnaire, the result from this analysis indicated that an exploitation of the crisis had occurred. Further research on the subject could for example expand its horizons beyond the Swedish borders, especially considering the difference in strategic approaches between Sweden and the rest of the world. Such studies would possibly require either a more quantitative approach or a greater number of researchers or data programme that could handle the amount of data that would be required to conduct the analysis.
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