Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation (CET)
CET Virtual Lunch Seminar

Media use in crisis situations – comparing climate change and the pandemic

CET is excited to announce this CET Virtual Lunch Seminar with Brita Ytre-Arna, Professor of Media studies at the Department of Information Science and Media Studies, UiB.

media use
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CET Lunch seminars are currently online.

Main content

This talk will present a new interdisciplinary research project collaboration between CET and the Department of Information Science and Media Studies: “Media Use in Crisis Situations: Resolving Information Paradoxes, Comparing Climate Change and COVID-19” (MUCS). The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway and will launch later in 2021, with professor Brita Ytre-Arne as PI.

The starting point for the project is the striking differences in the societal response to the ongoing pandemic and to the climate crisis: Why have we seen so much swift and coordinated action to counter the pandemic, while a similar climate response is difficult to realize? Our understanding of how to respond to crisis is riddled with paradoxes, and one such paradox concerns the role of information. In spite of extensive media coverage warning of a climate crisis, we do not know how this information is received and interpreted in everyday contexts, or why different perceptions and actions arise in the communication of crisis situations.

MUCS focuses on the role of the media, and studies media use amongst Norwegian citizens in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. Through innovative qualitative methods and an interdisciplinary approach, the project resolves paradoxes in the communication of crisis in digital societies. The project will analyze how people encounter climate change and COVID-19 across media and in local communities in Norway, analyzing information in context, and considering challenges in the digitalization of media use, including digital misinformation. With an interdisciplinary approach and project team, MUCS combines media use studies, journalism, human geography and political psychology to develop a novel, citizen-focused perspective on media use in crisis situations, applied to solve persistent paradoxes and produce actionable knowledge.

About the speaker

Brita Ytre-Arne (PhD) is a professor of Media Studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. Specializing in qualitative research, her work analyzes how citizens connect to society through cross-media use, and explores the impact of datafication and mobile technologies on our lives. Currently, her research is focused on the role of media in complex societal crisis situations. She has researched media use in Norway through different phases of the pandemic, and been part of a project on how people use social media to make sense of climate change. She is PI for a new project funded by the Research Council of Norway, titled “Media Use in Crisis Situations: Resolving Information Paradoxes, Comparing Climate Change and COVID-19”. 

Twitter: @BritaYtreArne