MUCS (Media Use in Crisis Situations: Resolving Information Paradoxes, Comparing Climate Change and COVID-19) studies media use in crisis situations, comparing climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. The project is a collaboration between media studies, human geography and journalism studies. We analyze how people in Norway encounter these issues in everyday life and in the media, where information is abundant across platforms.
The objective of the project is to resolve paradoxes in the communication of crisis in digital societies. Why do we accept drastic measures to fight the pandemic, while similar climate action is difficult to accomplish? There is extensive media coverage warning of a climate crisis, but we do not know enough about how this information is interpreted. The pandemic is perceived differently in terms of speed, proximity and impact on our lives. By comparing these cases, we learn more about information in different crisis situations, and build resilience in the face of future and unknown risks.
The project focuses on media use. Media are key to how experts and governing bodies communicate, and risk management depends on communication to mobilize and maintain trust. Social media, journalism, smartphones and digital platforms are all part of how citizens relate to society. We study these and other examples in a cross-media perspective, analyzing how Norwegians use a variety of media in their everyday lives. We are particularly interested in digitalization, and in understanding the challenges and opportunities new technologies bring forward to crisis communication.
The project conducts qualitative research, including interviews about media use pertaining to climate and COVID-19, and ethnographic studies of these issues in local communities in Norway. We collaborate with stakeholders in climate and crisis communication to develop actionable knowledge.