Public online opinion and the handling of crisis communication concerning COVID-19 news reports: Taiwan as an example


Online news often uses “netizen opinions” as material, which magnifies the spread of public sentiment online and may pose a threat for government organizations, especially with the media reporting on public opinion online these days due to how said opinions could become potentially dangerous topics in the news. This study focuses on the members of the Kaohsiung City Government’s Crisis Core Team, and how they handled crisis risk assessment when faced with a crisis that spawned from news reports of crisis during the fight against COVID-19. Using the 24,698 sets of data the Kaohsiung City Government gathered during its research period, we came up with 30 threatening news topics and asked a team of seven - five from the government and two journalists - to conduct risk assessment. Results of our research show that, in high-risk public health safety incidents, risk levels are firmly connected to the people’s understanding of whether the issue concerns the “self”.

Keywords: Social Network Site, Internet Public Opinion, Crisis Communication, COVID-19.

Yi-Jing Wu¹*, Yu-Lung Wu2