Informative Contagion: The Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Italian journalism

Concetta Papapicco 1 *
More Detail
1 University of Bari “Aldo Moro”, ITALY
* Corresponding Author
Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 10, Issue 3, Article No: e202014.
OPEN ACCESS   1916 Views   2071 Downloads   Published online: 10 Apr 2020
Download Full Text (PDF)


The spreading of new Coronavirus in addition to becoming a global phenomenon, following the declaration of a pandemic state, has generated excessive access to information, phenomenon named “Infodemia” (Cinelli et al., 2020). The general purpose of the exploratory study is to investigate how the coronavirus situation is described from the journalistic communication. Starting from La Repubblica online, as a reference journalistic magazine, the study assumes that if the circulation of information helps to create a social representation of the phenomenon, the excessive accessibility to sources of information (infodemia) can be modulated by the “how” the phenomenon is described by the journalists. The methodology proposed is quanti-qualitative (mixed method). A Content Analysis (Mayring, 2004) with the SketchEngine software (Thomas, 2016) is carried out first. In support, a Diatextual Analysis (Papapicco & Mininni, 2019) was carried out. The results show the presence of the contrast vision about COVID-19 situation in Italy.


Papapicco, C. (2020). Informative Contagion: The Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Italian journalism. Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, 10(3), e202014.


  • Bessi, A., Coletto, M., Davidescu, G. A., Scala, A., Caldarelli, G., & Quattrociocchi, W. (2015). Science vs conspiracy: Collective narratives in the age of misinformation. PloS one, 10(2), e0118093.
  • Cinelli, M., Quattrociocchi, W., Galeazzi, A., Valensise, C. M., Brugnoli, E., Schmidt, A. L., ... Scala, A. (2020). The COVID-19 social media infodemic. arXiv preprint arXiv:2003.05004.
  • Dashti, A. A. (2009). The role of online journalism in political disputes in Kuwait. Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research, 2(1-2), 91-112.
  • Del Vicario, M., Bessi, A., Zollo, F., Petroni, F., Scala, A., Caldarelli, G., Stanley, H. E. and Quattrociocchi, W. (2016). The spreading of misinformation online. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(3), 554-559.
  • Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases. Retrieved on 11 March 2020 from
  • Kim, L., Fast, S. M., & Markuzon, N. (2019). Incorporating media data into a model of infectious disease transmission. PloS one, 14(2).
  • Mayring, P. (2004). Qualitative content analysis. A companion to qualitative research, 1, 159-176.
  • Mininni, G. (1992). Diatesti. Napoli: Liguori.
  • Mininni, G. (2013). Psicologia culturale discorsiva. Milano: Franco Angeli.
  • Papapicco, C., & Mininni, G. (2019). “ BR... EXIT”. A Diatextual Analysis of Public Discourse on Migrant Italian Talents. Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Across Disciplines, 11(2).
  • Remuzzi, A., & Remuzzi, G. (2020). COVID-19 and Italy: what next?. The Lancet.
  • Scarfone, G. (2017). Giornalismo e social network: un’analisi linguistica. Lingue e culture dei media, 1(1), 44-89.
  • Schmidt, A. L., Zollo, F., Del Vicario, M., Bessi, A., Scala, A., Caldarelli, G., Stanley, H. E., & Quattrociocchi, W. (2017). Anatomy of news consumption on Facebook. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(12), 3035-3039.
  • Schmidt, A. L., Zollo, F., Scala, A., Betsch, C., & Quattrociocchi, W. (2018). Polarization of the vaccination debate on Facebook. Vaccine, 36(25), 3606-3612.
  • Shaman, J., Karspeck, A., Yang, W., Tamerius, J., & Lipsitch, M. (2013). Real-time influenza forecasts during the 2012-2013 season. Nature communications, 4(1), 1-10.
  • Starnini, M., Frasca, M., & Baronchelli, A. (2016). Emergence of metapopulations and echo chambers in mobile agents. Scientific reports, 6, 31834.
  • Thomas, J. (2016). Discovering English with Sketch Engine: a corpus-based approach to language exploration. Workbook and glossary. Brno: Versatile. ISBN 9788026095798. Andrea Baronchelli. The emergence of consensus: a primer. Royal Society open science, 5(2), 172189, 2018.
  • Viboud, C., & Vespignani, A. (2019). The future of influenza forecasts. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(8), 2802-2804.
  • Ward, M., & Dickinson, A. (2002). Journalism online. Taylor & Francis.
  • Zollo, F., Bessi, A., Del Vicario, M., Scala, A., Caldarelli, G., Shekhtman, L., Havlin, S., & Quattrociocchi, W. (2017). Debunking in a world of tribes. PloS one, 12(7).