This year got off to an unpleasant start. From the possibility of a World War III brewing to false alarms of a new-age arms race and the horrific forest fires of Australia that killed an estimated 1 billion animals and around 34 people. – the media world was full of distressful and bad news in the first few months of 2020. But, all of this still had not prepared us for the greatest predicament of the year (yet), the COVID19 AKA Coronavirus.
Coronavirus today occupies most of the media space and time as more and more countries continue to report confirmed cases. As of 29 February 2020, apart from mainland China, the epidemic had spread to several other countries around the world, with the most affected being South Korea, Italy, and Iran.
All these in the first three months of the year have led to a widespread domino effect leading to, among others, financial markets to crash, stress levels and worldwide paranoia to rise, people to lock themselves in, and travelling to get banned. These factors beg one question — were these situations or incidents always around us, and social media is just catching up? Is this the result of the widespread use of the internet as a tool to create what we know as media hype?
Join me in the next blog to explore the concept and consequences of media hype in a situation of global distress.
Adnan Wahidi is Account Executive at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. | www.cbpr.me