Purpose: The aim of this study is to examine the information needs and information seeking behaviors of Israeli citizens during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in 2020, with an emphasis on the dissemination of digital information by government agencies. Design/methodology/approach: The research approach underlying this investigation is of the “case study” type, employing semi-structured, in-depth interviews conducted with 24 Israeli citizens regarding their perceptions and experiences with government information and government services during the first months of the coronavirus. Findings: The findings of this study reveal that most participants indicated feelings of media fatigue as a result of increased exposure to news media and social media, to the point of experiencing information overload. Second, participants described feeling a lack of clear information and poor access to accurate health and official information at the outset of the COVID-19 crisis in Israel. Third, participants in the authors’ study noted that most of the information to which they were exposed about the virus came to them through communal connections such as friends and family, via social media and messaging apps like WhatsApp. In general, the participants expressed satisfaction with the quality and availability of the data and extensive information of government ministries on social networks, together with a lack of satisfaction due to difficulties in usage and a lack of clear information on traditional government websites. Originality/value: The findings present the information acquisition and the experience of citizens in situations of national emergencies and crises, in a new light, through a focus on the dissemination of government, health and news information.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by the Dangoor Personalized Medicine Fund at Bar-Ilan University.
© 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.
- Government information
- Information needs
- Social media