News Representation of COVID-19 in the US and the UK

University essay from Malmö universitet/Kultur och samhälle

Abstract: The aim of this thesis is to investigate the news media representation of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and the United Kingdom. By conducting an extensive qualitative content analysis on 156 articles collected from the ​New York Times ​ and ​The Guardian ​ during two weeks of the pandemic, this thesis examines the possible change in news reporting and shift in tone of the representation of the news reporting from the week prior to the nationwide lockdown measures to the week after the lockdown measures in the U.S and the U.K. The analysis is done through a theoretical framework using Stuart Hall’s ​Theory of Representation ​ and ​Discourse Theory ​ to critically analyse the language used in the articles, and a hypothetical assumption of a relation between political developments and news representation. The analysis shows that the news coverage shifted focus in both the U.S and U.K from the pre-lockdown week to the post-lockdown week, and the shift had clear similarities and differences between the both news sources. Fundamentally, the results of this thesis suggest that the news reporting in both the United States and the United Kingdom was influenced by the political events during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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