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Communicating a crisis

21 April 2020

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Researchers across the School have used their knowledge to analyse the Covid-19 crisis.

The media have an important role to play during a crisis, but during a global pandemic, this role becomes critically important - a matter of life and death.

Academics from Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture (JOMEC) have responded to the Covid-19 crisis by advising journalists in Wales how to cover the outbreak, critically appraising the performance of public service broadcasters and investigating the impact of the lockdown upon the creative industries, amongst other initiatives.

At the request of the Welsh NHS Confederation, Professor Karin Wahl-Jorgensen compiled an advice document for journalists covering the outbreak, drawing on input from independent experts across journalism, PR and academia, several of the latter from within the School.

The guidance is primarily aimed at journalists new to covering health topics or those redeployed from other areas. It focuses on how to safely cover the pandemic and stresses the importance of countering misinformation.

“The unprecedented demand for information demonstrates the importance of robust news media in a democratic society.” Professor Wahl-Jorgensen said. “We hope the guidance will serve to support news media across Wales in their efforts to help us make sense of what is a hugely worrying time for us all.”

Professor Stephen Cushion has critically evaluated the Government’s communications strategy to date and considered the role of public service broadcasting during the crisis in a series of articles published in the Conversation.

Creative Cardiff, a network which connects people working in all creative organisations, responded to news of the UK Government’s COVID-19 Self-Employment Income Support Scheme by conducting an online survey to ask their members how the scheme would help.

In three days, 237 freelancers from across the Welsh creative industries responded to the survey.

The subsequent report, authored by Professor Justin Lewis, said: "A breakdown in the freelance workforce will have multiplier effects across creative sectors.

"In this context, the Government's scheme is welcome support for a sector that relies heavily on freelancers. However, many creative freelancers do not qualify for the scheme and for those who are eligible, the scheme falls far short of the compensation the Government is providing for furloughed employees."

The report points to ways in which the identified inequities might be addressed - both by the UK and Welsh Governments.

And, most recently, Dr César Jiménez-Martínez has looked at the role and place of nationalism during a global crisis and how important the nation is to our daily lives.

He said, “Dismissing nationalism as only the work of extremists or ideologues doesn’t take us very far in understanding why national forms of identification and solidarity still continue to matter to so many people around the globe.”

Invited to comment on JOMEC’s initiatives, Professor Stuart Allan, Head of School, said:

“It is heartening to see colleagues sharing their expertise to help inform, engage and inspire strategic responses to this crisis and its implications for our fellow citizens.”

Professor Stuart Allan Head of School

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Commentary, debate and opinion from the School of Journalism, Media and Culture.