For many, the media has been a deciding factor on whether or not someone believes what is going on with COVID-19. People are using facts they gain from hundreds of media sources to form an opinion, on healthcare or politics. It’s difficult to grasp the amount of information that floods landing pages, social media, and conversations with our peers. Ken Kurson has been studying media since the early 90s. He is dedicated to understanding just how greatly COVID-19 has affected the media. It’s a particular challenge, but seeing how a pandemic has steered the course of media relations for the rest of history is very interesting to Kurson.
When an outlet is presented with information regarding COVID, it’s up to the journalists, anchors, and reporters to relay the information to audiences worldwide. Kurson, as displayed on California Globe, believes that many news outlets reported the virus much too late. Yes, it was very difficult to grasp what was going on with China back in January. To this day, Kurson has trouble understanding what goes on with COVID-19. However, media outlets and The White House were not coinciding with the topic as much as they should have.
No one alive had ever been through a pandemic. That is why it was so difficult for people like Kurson to grasp what was truly going on. The virus impacted every media outlet in the entire world. Blogs, social media profiles, networks, servers, and everything in between was covering the virus. Billions of people were terrified of what would happen and if their families would be kept safe. Kurson remembers going into a slight shock when he realized how quickly the virus was spreading. He knows many who have underlying health issues, and this frightened him, as it did millions of others.
If one was to switch to CNN or Fox News, the virus is a constant topic. Kurson said that before COVID-19, the news was starting to die down. Many audiences were getting their information from social media, so there was no need to watch news segments. Now, due to the constant coverage, these news outlets are booming more than ever. If someone is not watching the news for information, they are doing it out of boredom. There was a large increase in the percentage of television views in the past six months. Kurson believes that since people are staying home, they are more influenced to watch TV, even as background noise.
COVID-19 has changed the way that the media influences the public. Every single fact reporters would display, audiences had no choice but to believe. The information that reporters had to go off of was very lucrative and cryptic. Outlets were trying to get as much coverage on the topic as possible while still appealing audiences worldwide. Even blogs like Book and Film Globe were discussing the virus at maximum capacity. All articles and journals revolved around one topic for weeks, which Kurson states is very uncommon.
Newsrooms were working tirelessly to evolve stories and investigate scientists about the virus. Many outlets interviewed survivors, teachers, and athletes about the effects COVID had on them. Kurson states that although it may seem like just major broadcasters were covering the news, it trickled into the sports and financial outlets as well.
COVID is a topic commonly reported on ESPN, NBC, and BBC. It’s everywhere. These outlets have never been impacted with such information and let alone data that is constantly shifting. Kurson believes that this is one of the best and worst times to be a journalist. Sleep is not an option for most working in the industry, and dedication is beyond the standard. The media has coagulated a new industry for reporting and journalism. Ken Kurson doubts views will ever decrease during such an unknown climate.