Visuell kriskommunikation under coronakrisens inledande skede – fallet Finland
Emotional Rescue? Visual crisis communication during the initial phase of the corona crisis
Leader communication becomes specifically important during national crises, when a climate of fear and anxiety direct citizen’s attention to the situation and they look for motivational cues from the leaders. This study contributes with knowledge on how leaders convey visual emotional expressions in crisis communication. The article examines the emotional expressions used by the Finnish prime minister during the government’s press conferences on covid-19, using automatic coding of facial expressions. The research questions examine both how the visual crisis communication changed over time during the corona pandemic’s first four months, and whether different topics can be linked to different emotional expressions. The results show an increase of strong emotional expressions during the acute phase of the corona crisis, and especially the communication strategy of happiness/reassurance and anger/threat are used. Moreover, results tentatively indicate that facial expressions of anger are used in combination with non-emotional verbal statements.