Bergen Media Use Research Group

Media use Research about the Covid-19 pandemic

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic much research has been carried out on how the pandemic has affected society. Here you will find an overview of publications related to media use and the pandemic, by the scholars in Bergen Media Use Research Group.

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When the Covid-19 virus spread and led to restrictions on travel and social gatherings, the lives of people around the world changed overnight. At a time when most things were different and the future uncertain, the media became more important in many people's lives:

For information and updates on national and local guidelines, for a sense of comfort, communication and company. When people could no longer meet and be in the same room, technology became an important tool for still being able to carry out work tasks, meetings, teaching - and even the weekly social quiz with good friends.

Some were glued to the screen, while others felt overwhelmed by all the information.

The Covid-19 pandemic is also important for understanding how people in digital and datafied societies deal with crises. Researchers from Bergen Media use Research group at UiB have studied media use during the pandemic with surveys and interviews at different times, from the first lockdown in the spring of 2020 until the late stages of the pandemic at the end of 2022. 

  • How did people experience media coverage of the pandemic?
  • Which technologies and forms of communication became important to people in their everyday lives?
  • Which changes in people`s media use were short lived and which stayed well after the initial phase?
  • What is the meaning of phenomen like doom scrolling, monitoring the infection rates and Zoom-fatigue?

These are some of the questions that Media use Research on the pandemic can answer. 

We started our research in March of 2020, soon after the first lockdown in Norway. Varied methodological approaches were used at different times during the pandemic. Our researchsprovides us new perspectives on what the media and  technology means in our lives, and how we relate to other people and the to society in times of turmoil. 

Published articles and scientific literature about Media use and the pandemic:

Article about why infection rates in pandemic news were considered important by the public

John Magnus Ragnhildson Dahl & Brita Ytre-Arne (2023) Monitoring the infection rate: Explaining the meaning of metrics in pandemic news experiences Journalism, 0(0) 1–18. DOI: 10.1177/14648849221149599

Chapter on news use in the Nordic during the pandemic, with analysis of the comparative Reuters survey and in-depth interview from Norway:

Brita Ytre-Arne & Hallvard Moe (2023) Citizens` news use during Covid-19: Concerns about misinformation and reliance on local news in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. in: Bengt, J. mfl. (Ed.) Communcating a pandemic: Crisis Management and Covid-19 in the Nordic Countries, Gøteborg:Nordicom, 303-324 DOI: 10.48335/9789188855688-14

The Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis on Trust in the News Media: Evidence From Four Panel Waves. Submitted for publication. Erik Knudsen mfl. 

Article about doomscrolling and news avoidance during the first lockdown

Brita Ytre-Arne & Hallvard Moe (2021) Doomscrolling, Monitoring and Avoiding: News Use in COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown, Journalism Studies, 22:13, 1739-1755, DOI: 10.1080/1461670X.2021.1952475 

All articles are published with open access and can be read free on charge online.