While we are continuing to be inundated with COVID-19 news, we’re starting to see an uptick in positive stories related to the pandemic.
At IMPACT, there has been an increase in media callouts for stories that have nothing to do with the virus. Perhaps the media is seeing a decreased interest in devastating news as we all try to protect ourselves, and our families, from too much negativity?
So, what’s new in the news?
How journalists are coping
TV news presenters are sitting further apart to ensure they’re observing social distance regulations, while roving journalists and special guests join in live conversations from the comfort of their own homes. Not much new footage is being shot, evident by the amount of B-roll being used, and the increase in user-generated images and video.
With all hands-on deck for 24/7 coverage of COVID-19, we’re seeing journalists writing articles that are not part of their usual beat.
Bylines and contributor content are highly sought after by our time-poor journos, as is easy–to–digest research. If the content is related to COVID-19, then speed is of the essence, as the situation is constantly evolving.
The good news for traditional media is that audiences are returning in droves for updates they can rely on. A Guardian Essential Poll this week found trust in the media, to provide honest and objective information about COVID-19, jumped from 35 per cent to 51 per cent over a two-week period.
New sections and platforms to target
Many publications have introduced new sections and sites that are relevant to work and life at home:
- Junkee – AWOL
- Delicious – Out of Office
- Newscorp – kidsenews and Hibernation
- taste.com.au – The Keep Calm Kitchen and Best Recipes Pantry Heroes
- Body + Soul – Healthy-ish – daily 5 min podcast with tips and advice to provide a sense of community
- Kidspot – The Juggling Act podcast – for parents
In social media, TikTok is proving to be the pandemic platform of choice!
As people continue to search for new ways to connect with others, TikTok has cemented itself as a key app on the devices of Australians of all ages. Users are going to great lengths to develop engaging content to connect with friends and fellow isolators across the country and around the world, and even grow their professional networks during this time.
Influencers ready to engage
There’s been a lift in influencer sponsored content – giving brands an easy way to connect with their audiences while waiting for traditional media to come back online. Housebound influencers are willing to collaborate with brands now more than ever.
Trends and topics to watch
For lifestyle media, DIY is going off the Richter scale. Bunnings revenue is up 20 per cent, garden centres are running out of stock and nurseries can’t grow edible plants fast enough.
All segments of the media are providing tips and hints on what to do while spending more time at home. Self-improvement, health and wellbeing stories are also plentiful; ensuring we all look after ourselves and expand our minds while in lockdown.
We’re also seeing a lot of re-tooling stories where businesses are pivoting to help the cause (think distilleries who are now making hand sanitiser and Spotlight donating 10,000 metres of fabric to make hospital scrubs).
Stories about community and connection are on the rise too, from real life stories of people who are embracing the slow down, to fun, light stories such as ‘Formal Fridays’ where people are putting out their wheelie bins in formal attire, to The Project asking, “Should we iron pillowcases?” [Edit: That’s a no from us!]
Trade publications have been focused on how COVID-19 is affecting the industry sectors they represent and what support is available, but they also have a ‘business as usual’ attitude with a twist, such as how businesses have pivoted to online or takeaway offerings. Content also continues to focus on industry news outside of the pandemic, people, projects and awards.
We’ll be keeping an eye on the narrative over the next week and keep you updated.