The newspaper coverage of public health policies and scientific research: lessons learned by the Italian National Institute of Health during the Covid-19 pandemic
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University of Brescia, Department of Medical and Surgical Specialities, Radiological Sciences and Public Health, Italy
Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Italy
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1629
Most articles in the corpus appeared in Corriere della Sera (31,8%) in March 2022 (17,6%). Preliminary results show that across all publications special attention is paid to the semantic and discursive aspects related to the use of a specialized lexicon or register in journalistic texts. Terms such as “serological” (sierologico, 252.97 fpmw), “swab” (tampone, 1637.68 fpmw) and “R-value” (indice R, 83.56 fpmw) are often singled out and explained using lexicographic strategies (definitions, paraphrases, and synonyms); however, concordances show significant semantic shifts from scientific-institutional to journalistic use of such words in context.

The linguistic analysis has shown the friction between medico-scientific, institutional, and journalistic narratives of the pandemic. The project aims to further this analysis by building a multidisciplinary research team comprising medical practitioners, public health researchers, linguists, and journalists, to reflect on these clashes and to develop best practices to face possible future public health crises.