Report “Communications in the coronavirus crisis: lessons for the second wave”

Year of production: 2020

Image is illustrative. Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash

The report looks at three key lessons learned on communications in the coronavirus crisis and look to the months ahead. The authors focus on communications because communication is central to any crisis, including a public health crisis, and is central to the political discussion around how we, as a society, handle them. The lessons learned are meant to support the planning process of the 2nd COVID-19 pandemic. Among its highlights:

  • with some exceptions, most of the UK public are informed about COVID-19 as a disease, report that they have behaved cautiously and mostly followed government guidelines, and say they are willing to take precautionary measures if instructed to do so
  • news use has declined during the crisis after the initial surge, trust in news has fallen, trust in the government as a source of information about COVID-19 has dropped significantly
  • information inequality is a real and growing problem, with systematic inequalities around age, gender, as well as income and education in how people engage with information about the coronavirus
  • preliminary definition of the ‘infodemically vulnerable’

This final report is part of the UK COVID-19 news and information project that analyses how the British public navigates information and misinformation about coronavirus and about how the government and other institutions are responding to the pandemic.


Reuters Institute

University of Oxford

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Richard Fletcher

Richard Fletcher is a Senior Research Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and leads the Institute’s research team.

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Antonis Kalogeropoulos

Antonis Kalogeropoulos is a Lecturer in Communication and Media at the University of Liverpool and a Research Associate of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

Photo of Rasmus Kleis Nielsen
Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen is the Director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and Professor of Political Communication at the University of Oxford.

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Felix M. Simon

Felix is a OII DPhil Student, a research assistant at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and a Fellow at Columbia University's Tow Center. As a Leverhulme Doctoral Scholar he is researching AI in journalism and the news industry.