Comparing the Rhetorical characteristics of the Covid-19 related content in TV, News Agencies and Instagram

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Communication of Science and Technology. Faculty of Cultural Studies and Communication. Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies



 Focusing on the message creation techniques, this article analyzes the rhetorical devices used for message production in four news agencies, news at 21 pm on channel one of  IRIB and Instagram texts during the first months of the spread of the Corona virus. Based on the literature review, research on the management of the production of content related to Covid-19 distributed by the media is important because audiences consume the content in both traditional and modern media and are affected by them. However, previous studies have not analyzed the types of information from the perspective of the rhetorical tools in crisis management.
The conceptual framework of the present paper is based on the importance of perception in crisis management and the three categories of Instructing, Adjusting and Internalizing information according to Sturges' theory. The effectiveness of crisis communication depends on the rhetorical and sequence of information presentation during the crisis. So, Instructing information should be provided firstly, then Adjusting information and finally, Internalizing information.
Techniques of content production are identified by using qualitative content analysis, identifying the rhetorical devices used in the texts, and the two concepts of schemes and tropes in Leigh's model. Accordingly, a number of 257 news items broadcasted on Iranian National TV, 17519 news items appeared in news agencies and 17 Instagram pages with more than 1000 followers have been analyzed.
The findings show that content production techniques can be separated from three perspectives:

a) Presentation format: Interview, film, conversation, animation, comic, vector, PowerPoint, and diagram are common formats.
b) Content production methods: comparison, explanation, naming, metaphor, emphasis, simplification, and sensitization.
c) Content production purpose: the common objectives are judgment, education, informing, hopefulness, panic.

In concluding:

The presentation format on Instagram has been more diverse than that of television and news agencies. Among the types of content, videos and especially videos that have humorous content and Islamic medicine, have been viewed more than others.
Confrontation with anti-science can be seen in news agencies and Instagram, but 21 pm TV broadcasts do not pay attention to this issue.
TV and news agencies have used tropes, but no scheme has been used on Instagram.
The effectiveness of the content influencing on the behavior change decreases in Instagram, news agency and television, respectively.


Main Subjects

خبرگزاری فارس (12 دی 1401). ایران در پیک هشتم کرونا/ ماسک زدن و واکسن یادآور را فراموش نکنید. خبرگزاری فارس .
دوست محمدی، فاطمه، رحمانی، عبدالله، رضائیان، محسن (1400). اپیدمیولوژی و راهکارهای مقابله با بیماری کرونا ویروس جدید (کووید ـ 19) (مروری روایی). مجله دانشگاه علوم پزشکی رفسنجان، 20 (5)، 571-596.
مهرابی، داود (1400). الگوی مصرف رسانه‌های اجتماعی و انجام رفتارهای پرخطر در میان جوانان 18 تا 15 سال. پژوهشکده مطالعات فرهنگی و ارتباطات، پژوهشگاه علوم انسانی و مطالعات فرهنگی.
مالمیر، راضیه، ماهر، علی، طغیانی، راهله، صفری، محمدصالح (1399). مدیریت بحران بیماری کووید 19: بازمهندسی نظام ارائه خدمات سلامت در ایران. مجله علمی ـ پژوهشی سازمان نظام پزشکی، 38 (1)، 11-18.
معاونت مطبوعاتی وزارت فرهنگ و ارشاد اسلامی (1398). اطلاعیه معاونت مطبوعاتی درباره اطلاع‌رسانی در خصوص ویروس کرونا، 1 اسفند 1398،
Baron, C. (n.d.). Coronavirus: impact on media consumption worldwide. Statista.
Caldiero, C., Taylor, M., & Ungureanu, L. (2010). Organizational and Media Use of Technology during Fraud Crises. In W. T. Coombs; S. J. Holladay (Ed.), The Handbook of Crisis Communication, 396–409). Wiley-Blackwell.
Cinelli, M., Quattrociocchi, W., Galeazzi, A., Valensise, C. M., Brugnoli, E., Schmidt, A. L., Zola, P., Zollo, F., & Scala, A. (2020). The COVID-19 social media infodemic. Scientific Reports, 10(1).
Coombs, W. T. (2008). Parameters for Crisis Communication. In; S. J. W. T. Coombs & Holladay (Eds.), The Handbook of Crisis Communication, 17–53. Wiley-Blackwell.
Cornelissen, J. P., Holt, R., & Zundel, M. (2011). The Role of Analogy and Metaphor in the Framing and Legitimization of Strategic Change. Organization Studies, 32(12), 1701–1716.
Culp, W. C. (2020). Coronavirus Disease 2019: In-Home Isolation Room Construction. A&Amp; a Practice, 14(6), e01218.
Falkheimer, J., & Heide, M. (2010). Crisis Communicators in Change: From Plans to Improvisations. In W. T. Coombs; S. J. Holladay (Ed.), The Handbook of Crisis Communication, 511–526. Wiley-Blackwell.
Frandsen, F., & Johansen, W. (2017). The Apology of a Sports Icon: Crisis Communication and Apologetic Ethics. HERMES - Journal of Language and Communication in Business, 20(38), 85-104.
Fraustino, J. D.; Liu, B. F. (2017). Towards More Audience-oriented Approaches to Crisis Communication and Social Media Research. In L. Austin & Y. Jin (Eds.), Social Media and Crisis Communication (pp. 129–140). Taylor & Francis.
Garcés-Prettel, M.; Navarro-Díaz, L. R.; Jaramillo-Echeverri, L. G. & Santoya-Montes, Y. (2021). CADERNOS DE Saúde Pública, 37 (2): e00203520
Glasser, T. L., & Ettema, J. S. (1994). The language of news and the end of morality. Argumentation, 8(4), 337–344.
Globalwebindex (2020). Coronavirus Research, Series 4: Media Consumption and Sport,
HOFFMAN-GOETZ, L., SHANNON, C., & CLARKE, J. N. (2003). Chronic Disease Coverage in Canadian Aboriginal Newspapers. Journal of Health Communication, 8(5), 475–488.
Institute for PR. (2022, May 23). Crisis Management and Communications. Institute for Public Relations.
Kline, K. N. (2006). A Decade of Research on Health Content in the Media: The Focus on Health Challenges and Sociocultural Context and Attendant Informational and Ideological Problems. Journal of Health Communication, 11(1), 43–59.
Kock, C. (2004). PLENARY SESSION IV. Rhetorics in Media Studies – Media Studies in Rhetorics. Rhetoric in Media Studies. Nordicom Review, 25(1–2), 103–110.
Leigh, J. H. (1994). The use of figures of speech in print ad headlines. Journal of Advertising, 23(2), 17-33.
Lessons, T. (2009). Defining Crisis Communication. In Part 1: The lessons (Issue Cdc, pp. 2–24).
Li, S. C. S., Wu, T. Y., Zeng, H. K., & Lo, S. Y. (2022). Channels Adopted for Information Seeking during COVID-19: Comparing Social Media with News Media and Interpersonal Communication in Taiwan. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(15), 9321.
Lichtenberg, J., & MacLean, D. (1991). The role of the media in risk communication. Communicating Risks to the Public, 157–173.
Monsefi, R., & Sepora Tengku Mahadi, T. (2017). The Rhetoric of Persian News Headlines:  A Case Study of Euronews. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 6(2), 36.
Musiał, K., & Kazienko, P. (2012). Social networks on the Internet. World Wide Web, 16(1), 31–72.
Nekliudov, N. A., Blyuss, O., Cheung, K. Y., Petrou, L., Genuneit, J., Sushentsev, N., Levadnaya, A., Comberiati, P., Warner, J. O., Tudor-Williams, G., Teufel, M., Greenhawt, M., DunnGalvin, A., & Munblit, D. (2020). Excessive Media Consumption About COVID-19 is Associated with Increased State Anxiety: Outcomes of a Large Online Survey in Russia. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(9), e20955.
Pan, P. L., & Meng, J. (2016). Media Frames across Stages of Health Crisis: A Crisis Management Approach to News Coverage of Flu Pandemic. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 24(2), 95–106.
Prieto-Ramos, F., Pei, J., & Cheng, L. (2020). Institutional and news media denominations of COVID-19 and its causative virus: Between naming policies and naming politics. Discourse & Amp; Communication, 14(6), 635–652.
Roche, J. P., & Muskavitch, M. A. T. (2003). Limited Precision in Print Media Communication of West Nile Virus Risks. Science Communication, 24(3), 353–365.
Sellnow, Timothy L; Vidoloff, K. G. (2009). Getting crisis communication right. Food Technology, 63(9), 40–45.
Social Media Stats Islamic Republic of Iran | Statcounter Global Stats. (n.d.). StatCounter Global Stats.
Sturges, D. L. (1994). Communicating through Crisis. Management Communication Quarterly, 7(3), 297–316.
Túñez-López, M., Vaz-Álvarez, M., & Fieiras-Ceide, C. (2020). Covid-19 and public service media: Impact of the pandemic on public television in Europe. El Profesional De La Información.
Voss, M., & Lorenz, D. F. (2016). Sociological Foundations of Crisis Communication. In C. Schwarz, Andreas; Seeger, Mattew W.; Auer (Ed.), The Handbook of International Crisis Communication Research, 45–55. Wiley-Blackwell.