Date of Award
Master of Arts in Digital Journalism (MADJ)
Hesbon Hansen Owilla
Graduate School of Media and Communications
When the first cases of coronavirus infection emerged in Kenya, the focus of print media moved to cover COVID-19 pandemic stories. This study aimed to analyze the extent to which medical experts were included in the reporting since patient zero was diagnosed in Kenya. Specifically, the study sought to identify the sourcing methods adopted by mainstream print media, analyse the incorporation of health and medical experts and examine the nature of information given by health and medical experts in the coverage of COVID-19 stories in the first one year since the diagnosis of patient zero in Kenya. The study adopted the theory of mediatisation and the agenda setting theory. This study employed a descriptive survey design using mixed methods approach. The population of the study was all the print media in Kenya. Target population was The Standard and The Daily Nation newspapers. Purposive sampling was used to select the two major newspapers, between March 12, 2020 and March 12, 2021, using key words such as Covid, Covid-19 and Coronavirus among others. The study also purposely interviewed key reporters and editors. The study used a coding sheet and key informant interviews to gather data. Thematic analysis was used for qualitative data and SPSS descriptive analysis for quantitative data. It was found that documentations, government releases, journals, research institutions, researchers and other medical/health experts were the major sources of information for the newspapers. Health/medical experts were overall used in more than a third of the stories covering COVID-19. It was concluded that the stories covered in the study were in some instances instilling fear among the citizens and projecting the negative effects of COVID-19. The study recommends an approach that would see journalists publish more stories that give context and interpretive analysis of COVID-19 based on factual and verified data.
Okuoro, Sara. (2022). The inclusion of medical and health experts in the coverage of Covid-19 in print media in Kenya (Unpublished Master’s Thesis). Aga Khan University. Graduate School of Media & Communications.