We know that models are only as good as the data we input. Using our contemporary COVID-19 crisis, let’s begin to test the model.
Thinking back to the social problems process model from lecture 2, please research some of the first claims makers calling attention to the troubling condition of COVID-19 (these can be claims makers operating in the domestic or international arena). Who are/were they?
When (date) and how (medium) did they begin sounding the alarm? What did they say? How did they make the claim about this troubling condition? What were the credentials of these claims’ makers? What was the initial reaction to this information? (By politicians, media sources, the public)?
Thinking back to the social problems process model from lecture 2, please provide a critique or extension of the model. Does the model fit how you believe a contemporary troubling condition would emerge as worthy of action?
Why or why not? How would you change the model to better fit our contemporary time? Would you remove one of the six stages? Would you add another stage? Please explain what you would change and why.
Under COVID-19 pandemic, the first claims maker would be World Health Organisation (WHO) which calling attention to the troubling condition of virus. WHO is a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. On January 2020, WHO published the first Disease Outbreak News on the new virus.
This is a flagship publication to the public health community and global media. And the news contains the status of patients and the public health response reported from Wuhan China. In this announcement, they warming that there is a new virus coming but they didn’t make it serious to the public on how significant is it for the virus transmission.
After two months of researching, WHO concerned by the alarming levels of spread and severity. By the alarming levels of inaction, WHO made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterised as a “pandemic.”
This announcement was published one month after the WHO-China Joint mission, which included experts from Canada, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore and the US spent time in Beijing. But it is already too late for the virus to spreading worldwide.
Under the term “pandemic,” most of the country’s government and public finally understand the depth of the problem and the need for action. The government start to discuss and established the policy to face the pandemic of Covid-19. And the media start to report how serious is it after getting infected by the virus and the statistic of daily confirmed case.
After learning about the social problems process model and different troubling issues that have developed throughout the years, I believe it needs an update.
This is so because many years have passed, and there are new ways for spreading and retrieving information. In addition, this model can be shaped in many different forms because not every issue will fit this model.
For example, the Broken Windows Theory (presented in the reading and podcast) was an idea that was implemented; however, it skipped the stage of claims making and began at the stage of policy-making or social problems work.
With the increased use of cell phones, individuals can promote a troubling issue on social media. Today, the most troubling issues come to light when an extreme event happens, or there are many occurrences of a troubling issue that affects people emotionally or personally.
These widespread videos, as we have seen, can appeal to one’s emotions, convincing others that something is an important issue through rhetoric. These troubling events on social media can bring to light issues that most people were unaware of that claims makers have been trying to bring to light for as long as they have known about the problem.
A troubling event that is recorded or someone with high standing in society brings it to light on social media, the media grabs these stories and reports about it. For example, the troubling issues of the gender pay gap and sexual assault were more known when celebrities shared their personal stories about the entertainment industry.
The media took hold of these stories, and the public reacted in hopes of change. As people react to these posts as they are shared on many media platforms, claims makers take advantage of educating the general public about the current popular issue.
Then from there, policies can be made, implemented, and reworked based on the outcomes of the policy. However, sometimes issues that gain the public’s attention may fade away, and there may not be progress in solving the issue.
A critique I have about the original model is that issues may come in waves and go through this constant cycle until something makes it to the policy stage.
I think visually the first half of the process should be a cycle that points to policy-making and so forth. For example, police brutality has been a growing issue gaining public attention through social media and has been presented on various media platforms. However, I personally have not seen very much action in policy-making or a stronger implementation of the Civil Rights Act to combat police brutality.
In my version of the model, I would add the troubling/reoccurring event to the first step. If a troubling event occurs, someone is most likely to post a recording or spread it around social media through comments. The second step for the process would be social media claims makers.
More claims makers have taken the opportunity to use this platform to educate people. Also, social media is a new source of spreading and gaining information. Next would be public reaction and media coverage thereafter. If there is a lot of public reaction for a troubling issue because of an event, it will likely have a lot of media coverage.
I think that social media should be separate from media coverage because it reaches a wider net of people and shows that it is a problem. Policy-making, social problems at work, and policy outcome would stay the same order. A flaw in this design would be that not every single event of a troubling issue is posted on social media.
However, as we learned in lecture, not every troubling issue fits this model or gains a lot of attention from the public.