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Pandemic Rhetoric, Trust and Social Media

Trust between citizens and authorities is a prerequisite to be able to handle the corona crisis. This project analyses how the health authorities communicate in this regard, what role is played by social media and what levels of trust are expressed by citizens. 

The norwegian government holds a press conference. Journalists and cameras are shown in front of them. Photo.

The norwegian governments press conference on the 7th May, 2020. Photo: Torbjørn Kjosvold, Creative Commons.

About the project

Language and rhetoric are central factors in the governmental approach to handling the corona crisis. The project "Pandemic Rhetoric, Trust and Social Media: Risk Communication Strategies and Public Reactions in a Changing Media Landscape" (PAR-TS) will study: 

  1. The current communication strategies of public health authorities. 
  2. The role of social media in the crisis.
  3. Institutional, social and medial reactions in the public in terms of trust, fear and behavioural change. 
  4. Potential risk and crisis communication strategies for future pandemic outbreaks. 


PAR-TS will provide a better understanding of the challenges and conditions of trust and trust-building in risk and crisis communication in the changing media landscape.

The objective is to provide research-based advice to the media, authorities and the public concerning the importance of social media and trust for risk and crisis communication about the coronavirus (COVID-19).

We will aid public agencies to improve communication and suggest tools for ethical, strategic risk communication, addressing public concerns.

The project will also contribute with knowledge about how the co-creative achievement from both authorities' communicative actions and novel and innovative practices by the public can lead to resilience in future risk situations.


The project has assembled a cross-disciplinary team drawing on political science, media and communication studies, data science, health and civil society studies. 

The involved partners are:


The Research Council of Norway




Published May 18, 2020 1:32 PM - Last modified Sep. 24, 2022 9:20 AM