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Using online news comments to gather fast feedback on issues with public health messaging: The Guardian as a case study

McClaughlin, Emma, Nichele, Elena, Adolphs, Svenja, Barnard, Pepita, Clos, Jeremy, Knight, Dawn ORCID:, MacAuley, Derek and Lang, Alexandra 2021. Using online news comments to gather fast feedback on issues with public health messaging: The Guardian as a case study. [Project Report]. University of Nottingham. Available at:

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This study uses corpus linguistics to analyse opinions on messaging and public health measures from one resource—comments posted in response to articles containing references to borders from The Guardian online. Overall, commenters made international, national, and regional comparisons between the and other places, which they considered to be better models for pub health (e.g., Scotland, Germany, and New Zealand). They used criticism of public health measures and guidance as a means to politicise the pandemic; some ironically adapted campaign slogans to comment on leadership and its political decisions. Commenters did not extend lenience to others, who did not follow guidance, despite otherwise finding the messaging confusing. They expressed concern over socio-economic inequalities (class, financial, and regional) resulting from, or exacerbated by, the implementation of COVID-19 measures. Finally, they offered little support for the measures or leadership but did offer recommendations for changes to measures. These results will inform a wider investigation into the reception and evaluation of public health messaging and related measures, and how these change over time following interventions such as the introduction of new messaging campaigns.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Publisher: University of Nottingham
Funders: AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 June 2021
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2022 11:09

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