Picture a Pandemic through Journalism

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  • Title: Picture a Pandemic through Journalism: Innovating Visually to Regain Trust and Achieve Empathy
  • Author(s): Dora Santos-Silva
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Image
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of the Image
  • Keywords: Visual Storytelling, Empathy, Emotional Journalism, Media Innovation
  • Volume: 13
  • Issue: 2
  • Date: June 29, 2022
  • ISSN: 2154-8560 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2154-8579 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2154-8560/CGP/v13i02/13-24
  • Citation: Santos-Silva, Dora. 2022. "Picture a Pandemic through Journalism: Innovating Visually to Regain Trust and Achieve Empathy." The International Journal of the Image 13 (2): 13-24. doi:10.18848/2154-8560/CGP/v13i02/13-24.
  • Extent: 12 pages

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The COVID-19 pandemic had an unprecedented massive media coverage—an infodemic, as described by the World Health Organization (WHO). This environment of news overload and fatigue, a disorder of information, and an abundance of numbers and projections related to this health crisis was both a challenge and an opportunity for journalists to innovate in storytelling to rebuild trust, connect emotionally with the audience, and achieve empathy through storytelling. This article examines editorial strategies used in the journalistic coverage of COVID-19, focusing on visual storytelling to engage the users through trust and empathy. The corpus included feature stories with a solid visual component published in 2020 and 2021 in the New York Times, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2021 in Public Service Reporting for the pandemic coverage. Findings show that trust is achieved visually through data visualizations with an explanatory approach and empathy through in collaborative stories and videos.