#DistantiMaUniti: la comunicazione pubblica tra innovazioni e fragilità alla ricerca di una ridefinizione = #DistantButUnited. Searching for a redefinition: public sector communication between innovations and fragility


Abstract


Over the last twenty years, profound transformations have affected public sector communication, changing and redefining its practices and tools, while influencing its research boundaries and trajectories. Communication function has shown innovative traits linked to the impact of Internet and social media, but it has also revealed its fragility when facing growing political interferences and resistances from organizational bureaucracies. The Covid-19 pandemic has represented a turning point for public sector communication. The latter has acquired new visibility in this emergency situation, and it has been forced to redefine consolidated communication models. In this scenario characterized by a general distrust toward institutions, public sector communication must recover credibility, guarantee transparency, correctness and timeliness in the dissemination of information. Starting from these considerations, this study on government communication in the context of Covid-19 investigates two aspects: the possibility that the emergency situation represents an opportunity to relaunch public sector communication as a service function, with particular regard to its digital dimensions; the reconstruction of the narration of the pandemic through government communication campaigns in the context of traditional and social media, highlighting contents styles and languages. Results underline the informative and service function of institutional communication, revealing in some phases innovations in languages and strategies. The alignment and synchronicity between different institutional voices and platforms, and the presence of an effective coordination, emerge during the lockdown while they become weaker in the following phase. This article suggests investing in permanent research on public communication to foster a more sophisticated use of campaigns and social media so as to nurture a constructive dialogue with citizens.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22840753n17p27

Keywords: public sector communication; communication campaign; Covid-19; , social media; crisis communication; institutional communication; engagement; communication strategies

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