COVID-19-related stories dominated the news agenda for 2020 according the end-of-year Core Cultural Index report which sought the views of over 15,000 people throughout the year as part of its ongoing monthly research.
All but three of the Top 10 news stories that resonated with Irish people, were COVID-19 related with the top story of the year being Ireland’s second major lockdown and the subsequent move to Level 5 restrictions which was announced in October. The three non-COVID stories included the Australian bushfires, the Irish General Election and the UK leaving the Eurozone.
The Core Cultural Index is a measurement of news stories, issues or cultural moments based on how aware the public are about the stories and how important they believe the story or issue is in their life. Every month, 1,000 adults in Ireland, representative of the population are asked about news stories – events, conversations or moments which occurred in the previous month.
Beyond COVID-19 related stories some of the other big news stories of the day that resonate with the Irish public included the morder of Garda Colm Horkan, the death of Jack Charlton, the Black Lives Matter protests and the election of Joe Biden as the next president of the USA.
“As we look into 2021, with a predicted third wave of COVID-19 due in the early months, but also vaccines on the horizon, it is useful to understand the relationship between engagement with the pandemic news, case numbers and public confidence,” says Finian Murphy, marketing director of Core. “Our analysis has shown that COVID-19 stories not only distract, but also dominate other news stories when daily cases numbers are above 100-200. The suppression of cases during the summer months allowed for other areas of life to be discussed. Public concern and willingness to adopt public health restrictions occurred earlier than political decisions. People saw the behaviours of others, and began to anticipate an increase in case numbers and become more pragmatic in their behaviour,” he says.
Research for the report was carried out by Core Research and according to Naomi Staff, MD of Core Research, cultural conversations will return to normal post-COVID
“There will be a return to discussions about housing, the cost of living and the climate crisis and there will be new conversations about work, travel and digital lives.In January 2021, we will publish PREDICT, which will highlight the key events or behaviours which consumers believe will happen in the following year.It will also provide an understanding of which of these predictions is most important for different generations. From affordable housing to data privacy and from remote working to diversity and inclusion, this report will help people navigate into a new year,” she says.
To receive a full copy of the 2020 Core Cultural Index click HERE