Traditional Media at the Beginning of the Unknown


Traditional Media Information Seeking Behaviour Uncertainty Health Uncertainty Uncertainty Management COVID-19 Pandemic

How to Cite

Narin, A., Temel Eğinli, A., & Deviren, C. (2023). Traditional Media at the Beginning of the Unknown. Galactica Media: Journal of Media Studies, 5(1), 57-77.


The purpose of this research is to find how TV news programs, as part of traditional media source, supply the needs of public within the uncertainty management theory and information-seeking scope during the initial phase of COVID-19 pandemic. A thematic analysis of first four streaming of each TV news programs with the first four highest ratings between March 18th and May 1th 2020 in Turkey was chosen for this study. This period was chosen because it was the first peak of the pandemic in Turkey when people felt uncertain and needed more information about their health. The results have shown that the uncertainty and information gaps have also been reflected in TV programs including the information provided by the experts. This study also reveals that in cases which concern public health, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional media continues to play a significant role in meeting the information needs of the society, and that the traditional media also uses social media’s speed in conveying information. We suggest that future studies may focus on the interaction of traditional media and social media in meeting information-seeking behaviours and managing uncertainty to acquire more data.


Afifi, W. A., Afifi, T. D., Robbins, S., & Nimah, N. (2013). The relative impacts of uncertainty and mothers’ communication on hopelessness among Palestinian refugee youth. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 83(4), 495–504.

Afifi, W. A., Felix, E. D., & Afifi, T. D. (2012). The impact of uncertainty and communal coping on mental health following natural disasters. Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 25(3), 329–347.

Afifi, W. A., & Weiner, J. L. (2004). Toward a Theory of Motivated Information Management. Communication Theory, 14(2), 167–190.

Alalawi, N., & Al-Jenaibi, B. (2016). A Research into the Fact that Media have Direct Effects on People in Different Ways. Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism, 6(1).

Anwar, S., Nasrullah, M., & Hosen, M. J. (2020). COVID-19 and Bangladesh: Challenges and How to Address Them. Frontiers in Public Health, 8, 154.

Apuke, O. D., & Omar, B. (2021). Social media affordances and information abundance: Enabling fake news sharing during the COVID-19 health crisis. Health Informatics Journal, 27(3), 146045822110214.

Arka Plan. (2020). A Haber.

Austin, L., Fisher Liu, B., & Jin, Y. (2012). How Audiences Seek Out Crisis Information: Exploring the Social-Mediated Crisis Communication Model. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 40(2), 188–207.

Baeva, L. V. (2021). The “Black Swan” of COVID-19 and the Security Issues in Digital Learning. Galactica Media: Journal of Media Studies, 3(2), 110–140.

Baraybar-Fernández, A., Arrufat-Martín, S., & Rubira-García, R. (2021). Public Information, Traditional Media and Social Networks during the COVID-19 Crisis in Spain. Sustainability, 13(12), 6534.

Brashers, D. E. (2001). Communication and Uncertainty Management. Journal of Communication, 51(3), 477–497.

Brashers, D. E., Basinger, E. D., Rintamaki, L. S., Caughlin, J. P., & Para, M. (2017). Taking Control: The Efficacy and Durability of a Peer-Led Uncertainty Management Intervention for People Recently Diagnosed With HIV. Health Communication, 32(1), 11–21.

Brashers, D. E., Neidig, J. L., Haas, S. M., Dobbs, L. K., Cardillo, L. W., & Russell, J. A. (2000). Communication in the management of uncertainty: The case of persons living with HIV or AIDS. Communication Monographs, 67(1), 63–84.

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101.

Çağdaş, D. (2021). Living the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in Turkey. Nature Immunology, 22(3), 260–260.

Cain, J. A., Armstrong, C., & Hou, J. (2020). Somebody Google a Doctor! Urgent Health Information Seeking Habits of Young Adults. Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, 10(2).

Casero-Ripolles, A. (2020). Impact of Covid-19 on the media system. Communicative and democratic consequences of news consumption during the outbreak. El Profesional de La Información, 29(2).

Chao, M., Chen, X., Liu, T., Yang, H., & Hall, B. J. (2020). Psychological distress and state boredom during the COVID-19 outbreak in China: The role of meaning in life and media use. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 11(1), 1769379.

Cho, J., Lee, H. E., & Quinlan, M. (2015). Complementary Relationships Between Traditional Media and Health Apps Among American College Students. Journal of American College Health, 63(4), 248–257.

Chunara, R., Andrews, J. R., & Brownstein, J. S. (2012). Social and News Media Enable Estimation of Epidemiological Patterns Early in the 2010 Haitian Cholera Outbreak. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 86(1), 39–45.

Crowley, J. P., Bleakley, A., Silk, K., Young, D. G., & Lambe, J. L. (2021). Uncertainty Management and Curve Flattening Behaviors in the Wake of COVID-19’s First Wave. Health Communication, 36(1), 32–41.

Dutta-Bergman, M. J. (2004). Primary Sources of Health Information: Comparisons in the Domain of Health Attitudes, Health Cognitions, and Health Behaviors. Health Communication, 16(3), 273‑288.

Eriksson Asp, T. (2018). Propagation of traditional media publications in social media: A network analysis approach [Bachelor thesis, Dalarna University].

European Broadcasting Union (EBU). (2020, September 17). Covid-19 Report.

First, J. M., Shin, H., Ranjit, Y. S., & Houston, J. B. (2021). COVID-19 Stress and Depression: Examining Social Media, Traditional Media, and Interpersonal Communication. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 26(2), 101–115.

Fishman, J. M., & Casarett, D. (2006). Mass Media and Medicine: When the Most Trusted Media Mislead. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 81(3), 291–293.

Garfin, D. R., Silver, R. C., & Holman, E. A. (2020). The novel coronavirus (COVID-2019) outbreak: Amplification of public health consequences by media exposure. Health Psychology, 39(5), 355–357.

Gesualdo, F., Romano, M., Pandolfi, E., Rizzo, C., Ravà, L., Lucente, D., & Tozzi, A. E. (2010). Surfing the web during pandemic flu: Availability of World Health Organization recommendations on prevention. BMC Public Health, 10(1), 561.

Gunther, A. C. (1998). The Persuasive Press Inference: Effects of Mass Media on Perceived Public Opinion. Communication Research, 25(5), 486–504.

Hobfoll, S. E., Watson, P., Bell, C. C., Bryant, R. A., Brymer, M. J., Friedman, M. J., Friedman, M., Gersons, B. P. R., de Jong, J. T. V. M., Layne, C. M., Maguen, S., Neria, Y., Norwood, A. E., Pynoos, R. S., Reissman, D., Ruzek, J. I., Shalev, A. Y., Solomon, Z., Steinberg, A. M., & Ursano, R. J. (2007). Five Essential Elements of Immediate and Mid–Term Mass Trauma Intervention: Empirical Evidence. Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes, 70(4), 283–315.

Jo, S. (2005). The Effect of Online Media Credibility on Trust Relationships. Journal of Website Promotion, 1(2), 57–78.

Kuang, K., & Wilson, S. R. (2017). A Meta-Analysis of Uncertainty and Information Management in Illness Contexts: Uncertainty and Information Management. Journal of Communication, 67(3), 378–401.

Kuhlthau, C. C. (1993). Principle of uncertainty for information seeking. Journal of Documentation, 49(4), 339–355.

Küresel Salgın. (2020). NTV.

Lazarus, R. S. (2006). Emotions and Interpersonal Relationships: Toward a Person-Centered Conceptualization of Emotions and Coping. Journal of Personality, 74(1), 9–46.

Lee, S. T., & Basnyat, I. (2013). From Press Release to News: Mapping the Framing of the 2009 H1N1 A Influenza Pandemic. Health Communication, 28(2), 119–132.

Liu, Q., Zheng, Z., Zheng, J., Chen, Q., Liu, G., Chen, S., Chu, B., Zhu, H., Akinwunmi, B., Huang, J., Zhang, C. J. P., & Ming, W.-K. (2020). Health Communication Through News Media During the Early Stage of the COVID-19 Outbreak in China: Digital Topic Modeling Approach. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(4), e19118.

Miller, L. E. (2014). Uncertainty Management and Information Seeking in Cancer Survivorship. Health Communication, 29(3), 233–243.

Ministry of Health of Turkey. (2020).

Mishel, M. H. (1988). Uncertainty in Illness. Image: The Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 20(4), 225–232.

Parker, P. A., Alba, F., Fellman, B., Urbauer, D. L., Li, Y., Karam, J. A., Tannir, N., Jonasch, E., Wood, C. G., & Matin, S. F. (2013). Illness Uncertainty and Quality of Life of Patients with Small Renal Tumors Undergoing Watchful Waiting: A 2-year Prospective Study. European Urology, 63(6), 1122–1127.

Parsons, T. (1980). Health, uncertainty, and the action situation. In S. Fiddle (Ed.), Uncertainty: Behavioral and social dimensions (pp. 145–162). Praeger.

Parvin, G. A., Ahsan, R., Rahman, Md. H., & Abedin, Md. A. (2020). Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: The Role of Printing Media in Asian Countries. Frontiers in Communication, 5, 557593.

Rains, S. A. (2014). Health Information Seeking and the World Wide Web: An Uncertainty Management Perspective. Journal of Health Communication, 19(11), 1296–1307.

Rains, S. A., & Tukachinsky, R. (2015). An Examination of the Relationships Among Uncertainty, Appraisal, and Information-Seeking Behavior Proposed in Uncertainty Management Theory. Health Communication, 30(4), 339–349.

Ruiu, M. L. (2020). Mismanagement of Covid-19: Lessons learned from Italy. Journal of Risk Research, 23(7–8), 1007–1020.

Sakharova, N. S., Ezhova, T. V., Ganaeva, E. A., Pak, L. G., Sinagatullin, I. M., Kashina, S. G., & Popova, O. V. (2020). What is More Effective in Student Representation: Information Field of Social Networks or Traditional Mass Media Communication? Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, 10(2).

Schultz, F., Utz, S., & Göritz, A. (2011). Is the medium the message? Perceptions of and reactions to crisis communication via twitter, blogs and traditional media. Public Relations Review, 37(1), 20–27.

Scopelliti, M., Pacilli, M. G., & Aquino, A. (2021). TV News and COVID-19: Media Influence on Healthy Behavior in Public Spaces. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(4), 1879.

Sharma, P., Gupta, S., & Kushwaha, P. (2020). Impact of Mass Media on Quality of Life during Covid-19 Pandemic among Indian Population. International Journal of Science and Healthcare Research, 5(3), 260–267.

Skarpa, P. El., & Garoufallou, E. (2021). Information seeking behavior and COVID-19 pandemic: A snapshot of young, middle aged and senior individuals in Greece. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 150, 104465.

Snow, J. (2008). How the media are failing the health service. BMJ, 337(jun30 1), a572–a572.

Sullivan, A., & Molay, A. (2020). U.S. TV Viewing Is Increasing During Coronavirus Pandemic. Comscore, Inc.

Tagliabue, F., Galassi, L., & Mariani, P. (2020). The “Pandemic” of Disinformation in COVID-19. SN Comprehensive Clinical Medicine, 2(9), 1287–1289.

Tandoc, E. C., & Lee, J. C. B. (2022). When viruses and misinformation spread: How young Singaporeans navigated uncertainty in the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak. New Media & Society, 24(3), 778–796.

Tarafsız Bolge. (2020). CNN Türk.

Television Audience Measurement Committee. (2020). TIAK.

Tentolouris, A., Ntanasis-Stathopoulos, I., Vlachakis, P. K., Tsilimigras, D. I., Gavriatopoulou, M., & Dimopoulos, M. A. (2021). COVID-19: Time to flatten the infodemic curve. Clinical and Experimental Medicine, 21(2), 161–165.

Tian, Y., & Robinson, J. D. (2008). Media Use and Health Information Seeking: An Empirical Test of Complementarity Theory. Health Communication, 23(2), 184–190.

Turkiyenin Nabzı. (2020). Haber Turk. kanal/detay/turkiyenin-nabzi

Vaezi, A., & Javanmard, S. H. (2020). Infodemic and risk communication in the Era of CoV-19. Advanced Biomedical Research, 9(1), 10.

Van Aelst, P., Toth, F., Castro, L., Štětka, V., Vreese, C. de, Aalberg, T., Cardenal, A. S., Corbu, N., Esser, F., Hopmann, D. N., Koc-Michalska, K., Matthes, J., Schemer, C., Sheafer, T., Splendore, S., Stanyer, J., Stępińska, A., Strömbäck, J., & Theocharis, Y. (2021). Does a Crisis Change News Habits? A Comparative Study of the Effects of COVID-19 on News Media Use in 17 European Countries. Digital Journalism, 9(9), 1208–1238.

Villena-Alarcón, E., & Caballero-Galeote, L. (2021). COVID-19 Media Coverage on Spanish Public TV. Tripodos, 2(47), 103–126.

Wen, J., Kozak, M., Yang, S., & Liu, F. (2021). COVID-19: Potential effects on Chinese citizens’ lifestyle and travel. Tourism Review, 76(1), 74–87.

Wilson, T. D. (1981). On User Studies and Information Needs. Journal of Documentation, 37(1), 3–15.

World Health Organization. (2020). Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak, 18 March 2020 (WHO/2019-nCoV/MentalHealth/2020.1). World Health Organization.

Yang, S., Isa, S. M., & Ramayah, T. (2022). How Are Destination Image and Travel Intention Influenced by Misleading Media Coverage? Consequences of COVID-19 Outbreak in China. Vision: The Journal of Business Perspective, 26(1), 80–89.

Zhao, E., Wu, Q., Crimmins, E. M., & Ailshire, J. A. (2020). Media trust and infection mitigating behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic in the USA. BMJ Global Health, 5(10), e003323.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.