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Manuscript deadline
15 October 2020

Cover image - Digital Journalism

Digital Journalism

Special Issue Editor(s)

Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Culture, Cardiff University
[email protected]

Thorsten Quandt, Dept. of Communication, University of Münster
[email protected]

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Covering Corona: News in times of the pandemic crisis

The unfolding Covid-19 pandemic is not only a test for medical, political and social systems around the globe, but also one for public information systems, and digital journalism in particular. It is also a test for existing journalism theories and the empirical abilities of journalism studies as a field: Do the existing theoretical approaches fit the unprecedented situation, and can journalism studies contribute to the empirical study of the complex news flows during the crisis, which seemingly did not follow simple and unified patterns (i.e. from major media organizations to a well-defined audience)?

This special issue of #DigitalJournalism aims to answer these questions, to deepen our understanding of information and news flows in the Corona crisis, and to publish recent empirical and theoretical work that cover relevant aspects of this topic, including, but not limited, to:

    • Sources and actors: Where does public information and news on Covid-19 come from? Who are the central actors in selecting, producing, distributing or sharing information?


    • Reporting and work routines: How do journalists, alternative media and other communicators cover Corona? How do they verify information in such a crisis, how do they decide what to report on – and how? What are the effects of the crisis on journalists and other newsworkers – are there stress related issues, does the disease affect the work force itself?


    • Content: How is the crisis described and analyzed in the news, how is the information framed? What is the range of views covered? What is the role of rumors, conspiracy theories and disinformation? How do different types of media organizations vary in their coverage? How is the reporting changing over time?


    • Audiences, use and effects: How do people select, use and perceive news related to the pandemic? How do they respond to the news? Do various audience groups differ in their trust in journalistic reporting or other information sources? Does the behavior change over time and in parallel to the phases of the pandemic?


    • Comparative research: How do countries differ in the information flow and news regarding the crisis? Are there differences in the way journalism works under these conditions, and how politicians/governments and other actors seek to influence or steer the information and news flow?


    • Systemic and theoretical analysis: How can we systemize the unfolding crisis from the perspective of journalism theory? Can we generalize from this event, and learn about journalistic (or alternative) crisis coverage? Does the crisis test our theories on the role of (digital) journalism and the media?


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Submission Instructions

Submit an abstract of 500-750 words (not including references) as well as background information on the author(s) as one PDF file with your names clearly stated in the file name and the first page. Send your proposal to Karin Wahl-Jorgensen ([email protected]) and Thorsten Quandt ([email protected]) by 15 June 2020. Authors of accepted proposals are expected to develop and submit their original article, for full blind ¬review, in accordance with the journal's peer-review procedure, by the deadline stated. Articles should be between 7,000 and 9,000 words in length.


  • Abstract submission deadline: June 15, 2020
  • Notification on submitted abstracts: June 30, 2020
  • Article submission deadline: October 15, 2020

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article