Emotional reactions to news concerning coronavirus were collected in December. Two thirds of the reactions were positive, one third negative, report Mediahouse Keskisuomalainen and empathy analytics company NayaDaya. Over half of the reported emotions predict engagement in behavior, one third avoidance and resistance.
The emotional reactions have been collected among Mediahouse Keskisuomalainen’s city and regional newspaper readers. During 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic was addressed in over 20 000 news articles. Emotions related to these coronavirus news were expressed nearly 190 000 times during the 12-month period. The emotion data was analyzed using NayaDaya’s empathy analytics, which shows how the news related to the pandemic have influenced the Finns’ emotions, behavior, and involvement.
The negative emotions evoked by all the corona news – especially fear – increased after the more tranquil Summer and ultimately exceeded the previous top readings in September. The growing number of the fear is an indicator of poor control of the epidemic and increasing overall uncertainty.
The amount of fear was decreased during Spring through strict and preventive actions taken by the authorities. A similar positive turn took place in December while the number of vaccine news, among other things, increased. Of all the emotions evoked by the coronavirus news in December, approximately 40 percent were positive and 60 percent negative. Two thirds of the emotional reactions to news concerning the corona vaccine were positive while one third was negative.
”Our job in media is to report both unpleasant and threatening as well as hopeful events. It is advisable for the news to offer solutions and show the way toward the light at the end of the tunnel – this way the readers’ wishes are met, and the society receives crisis management support it needs. Taking the readers’ emotions into consideration when selecting and handling the pandemic related topics is part of constructive and responsible journalism”, states Juho Hämäläinen, Development Manager at Mediatalo Keskisuomalainen.
Over half of the readers’ emotional reactions to Covid-19 vaccine related news predict positive and engaging behavior. One third of the reported emotions indicate avoidance and resistance.
”From the pandemic prevention point of view, it is positive to find out that over half of the respondents felt positive, engaging emotions towards the vaccine news. On the other hand, there were quite a lot of negative emotions as well, and we are not able to draw a conclusion that this overall result would represent citizens’ commitment to taking the personal vaccine. Some of the people who have expressed, for example, interest, contentment, relief, and joy toward the corona vaccine news, may, in fact, be anxious and delay getting the vaccination for themselves. The engaging effect of emotions on one’s own vaccination must be examined separately”, explains Timo Järvinen, CEO at NayaDaya Inc.
In the context of crises – such as the corona pandemic – the root of the emotions can be found in the positive and negative meanings that people are experiencing. The closer to the people the impacts of the phenomenon are, the more pertinent they are experienced and the greater effect they have on people’s emotions and behavior.
”Both positive and negative emotions can be useful in the context of crises. For example, fear makes people beware of and to avoid risks. Positive and engaging emotions, on the other hand, make citizen actively promote preventive measures such as face masks and vaccines – as seen in connection with the pandemic. In responsible journalism, citizens are provided with facts regarding the problems and solutions at hand”, concludes Järvinen.
For more information:
Timo Järvinen, CEO, Co-founder, NayaDaya Inc., firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 40 505 7745
Juho Hämäläinen, Development Manager, Mediahouse Keskisuomalainen, email@example.com, tel. +358 50 460 1209
Mediahouse Keskisuomalainen is Finland’s largest newspaper and city publication publisher based on the number of print titles that reach 2,2 million readers every week. The group publishes 16 newspapers and digital newsmedia that are released 5-7 days a week, 28 local newspapers and 28 city publications. Further information: www.keskisuomalainen.com
NayaDaya Inc. is an empathy analytics company that reveals the way emotions and behavior interact with phenomena and brands. Through data, insight, empathy, and impact, we empower organizations, authorities, brands, and leaders to strive for a sustainable change. If you respect science, empathy, and data, we would love to discuss with you. News and further information: www.nayadaya.com