Information needs and media use of the Dutch public during the COVID-19 pandemic

Published on April 14, 2022 – During a pandemic outbreak, timely and accurate information that matches the information needs of the public is vital to inform the public. Earlier, we already reported that the Dutch public mainly used traditional media (e.g., news programs on tv, and newspapers) for information about the coronavirus (see also here). Now, we would like to present to you some more detailed results about the information needs and media usage of the Dutch public, based on a study that was recently published in the European Journal of Health Communication.

In April 2020, 977 Dutch individuals completed a questionnaire that measured their information needs and media consumption during the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak. Results show that respondents sought information about prevention of contamination, (the severity of) symptoms, treatment, and vaccination. News outlets, both online and offline, were the most preferred sources for information. Older people were more likely to search for information in traditional media, such as on TV, in newspapers, and on the radio. Younger people more often used news websites to find information. Respondents with lower levels of education obtained information via TV more frequently than respondents with higher levels of education, who in turn used newspapers more frequently. This information can be used by public health officials and governments to optimize information provision during pandemics. Presently, news media have the highest degree of coverage and impact and should thus be used first to convey reliable information.

The full article can be accessed here.

te Poel, F., Linn, A. J., Baumgartner, S. E., van Dijk, L., & Smit, E. S. (2021). Sick for Information? : Information Needs and Media Use of the Dutch Public During the Covid-19 Pandemic. European Journal of Health Communication2(3), 24–43.