News media coverage of COVID-19 deaths in Aotearoa, NZ

News media have an important role during times of crisis. Te Arai members recently published an open-access news media analysis of COVID-19 deaths in Aotearoa, New Zealand

Although relatively few New Zealanders have died as a result of the pandemic, it was important to critically examine the way each death was reported. Twenty-one New Zealanders died during our first lockdown, and this article we critically analyse the associated news media coverage.

Our key finding was that COVID-19 made the death of ordinary older New Zealanders newsworthy, albeit in a way that distinguished individuals by residential status.

Ka heke te roimata me to hūpē, ka ea te mate

[When tears and mucus fall, death is avenged]

This whakataukī [proverb] recognises the healing that takes place when we are able to mourn the loss of a loved one. In this article, we explored sensitive material about the unexpected deaths of 25 New Zealanders. Each death was significant, and each person who died was an individual who had contributed to their family and community.

Full article reference:

Morgan, T., Carey, M., Gott, M., Williams, L., Egli, V., & Anderson, N. (2021). More than mortality data: a news media analysis of COVID-19 deaths in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online, 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1080/1177083X.2021.1905006

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