The Corona crisis is also a test for the world´s media

The emerging epidemic of the Coruna virus is testing the world as well, a sector that is already experiencing an unprecedented crisis of confidence.

Citizens under isolation in their homes around the world are following the news with interest. A poll conducted by the Edelman Institute from the sixth to the tenth of March revealed that more than ninety percent of Italians, Japanese and Koreans are informed at least once a day on developments related to the virus, and more than half of them do this more than once a day.

Journalism remains essential, although social networks have broken almost the complete monopoly of news by the media. A poll conducted by the Ipsos Institute for "Axios" news site indicated that to see developments related to the virus, half of Americans still trust traditional media, while a much smaller percentage trust social media.

This crisis could present an opportunity for the media to restore the confidence of its readers. It is also an opportunity for defenseless readers to choose the big and small media they trust.

Historian Patrick Eveno, president of the French Council for Journalistic Ethics, stressed that it is "an important moment for the media ... to demonstrate that it is serving the public first with credible information by selecting it."

"No, the new Corona virus has not been produced and granted a patent from the Pasteur Institute," wrote an Agence France-Presse blog, which exposed misleading news "on the balance of France Press", and we do not know whether high spring temperatures "kill" the virus.

"In the context of the emergency health situation, providing reliable and accurate news is vital," said the BBC's media director, who has record levels of attendance, stressing that this public British media organization "has a key role to play."

Ricardo Kirchbaum, who works for Clarin, the most widely circulated Argentine daily, said, "Readers are looking for additional analysis, news services and testimonies."

The newspaper witnessed a rise in the number of its followers on the Internet, noting that readers go to its website directly without going through social networks.

"They want to know what is happening in other countries such as Italy, Spain and France whose events are covered by our correspondents," Kirchbaum said. The newspaper launched a daily mailing bulletin containing essential news about the epidemic.

Marina Walker of the Pulitzer Center, the US NGO that supports the press, said it was "not an appropriate stage for journalistic precedence and (working as usual)."

"We are all facing the same enemy. It is a period of solidarity, work in depth, and proof that we are writing for readers, not political agendas or economic interests."

The Pulitzer Center supports financial projects dependent on cooperation between several editorial boards to cover forgotten aspects of the crisis.

Italian sociologist Eduardo Novelli from the University of Rome-3 pointed out that a number of media outlets slowed down at the beginning of the crisis.

He wrote in a study entitled "Infomod" related to what 257 European media published on Facebook and took place between January 1 and March 14 that "newspapers were greatly influenced by their national governments, which in Germany, France and Britain reduced the severity of the coming crisis."

The former journalist who became a professor of communication and sociology expressed his regret that these media "did not play their part."

Some reported misleading news, such as the "Daily Mail" in Britain, which cited the idea that the virus had been picked up by someone who ate bat soup in China. This information was reported by many yellow newspapers, who live on news of excitement.

Finally, this crisis can accelerate this transition period, which witnesses the death of paper newspapers. While France was isolated, newspaper sales fell by 24 percent on Monday, March 16 and by 31 percent on Tuesday, March 17, according to the distribution group Prestis.

Historian Patrick Eveno said, "Newspapers will die or regroup and everything depends on the duration of the phenomenon." "But the trusted media will benefit by doubling the number of their digital subscriptions," he added.


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