Structure and Content of Information Campaign on Television During First Wave of Pandemic of COVID‑19 in Russia

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: deputy director
Affiliation: Institute for comparative social research (CESSI)
Address: Moscow, Russia
Affiliation: Institute for comparative social research (CESSI)
Address: Moscow, Russia
Journal nameSotsiologicheskie issledovaniya
EditionIssue 3

The public communication campaign is one of most important tools for mitigating and managing the public health risk situation. The semiotic content analysis of media reports on the First Channel of Russian television during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020 were used to identify the temporal and structural phases of the communication campaign and to evaluate its effectiveness in shaping public views and behavior. The semantic dimension of media reports included five categories: monitoring the course of the epidemic, causes, medical aspects, policy measures and the impact. The semiotic dimension included the plot, visual and audio means, and emotional character. Four stages of communication campaign - preparatory, core, culmination and closing stage, identified during the analysis differed by the intensity of reports which had curvilinear form increasing sharply in the first two phases and slowly declining after the culmination. The type of content changed from the discussion of the prevention measures on first phase to larger variety of topics including medical and social impact of the pandemic. Emotional character of reports moved from mostly pessimistic in the first phases to more balanced between optimistic and pessimistic messages and neutral tone at the final phase. Public communication campaign contributed to reaching a few important goals in managing risk situation which includes the increase of risk awareness, legitimating the quarantine and other restriction measures, rise of confidence in the health care system and positive image of medical personnel. However, other key goals remained unattainable: personal relevance of the coronavirus infection remained rather low. Large psychological distance from the issues created the barrier for effective implementation of vaccination measures. Many concerns and fears of people were not addressed in public communication campaign which switched the discussion to other media channels, gave rise to misinformation and prejudices, undermined the trust to official recommendations.


Keywordsinformation and communication campaign, social information, social impact of pandemic, public opinion, evaluation of the effectiveness of communication campaign, semiotic content analysis
Publication date07.04.2023
Number of characters24555
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