Mediascape: Supply Chains in the Wake of COVID-19 (Part 1)

In our last COVID-19 mediascape, we explored the media’s focus on COVID-19 as it relates to life sciences technology. In the next two posts, we’ll take a deeper dive into the media’s coverage of one of the industries most affected by the global pandemic: the supply chain.

Much of the media’s coverage surrounding COVID-19’s impact on global and regional economies  revolves around the shortage of goods, lack of international trade availability, enabling a remote workforce due to social distancing mandates, and the need for more and higher quality medical equipment. The supply chain impacts, or is impacted by, each of these issues associated with the pandemic.

Media & Public Focus on Supply Chains

The media’s coverage of supply chain operations and technology during the pandemic is illustrated by the graph below, which tracks “coronavirus” and “COVID-19” articles that specifically mention the term “supply chain.”

As the media’s focus on the impact of COVID-19 on supply chains expanded in volume over the first four months of 2020, the general public’s interest in the supply chain also increased. This is shown in the graph below, which overlays the number of supply chain articles each day (in blue) with the number of readers each day’s supply chain coverage received (in orange).

MEDIA-SCAPE: In the Wake of COVID-19

As you can see, the public’s interest in the supply chain peaked in the first week of April. This is around the time that hospitals, municipalities, governors, and healthcare leaders began publicly expressing the dire need for medical equipment such as ventilators, N95 masks, and other products that can combat the spread of the virus and assist in patient care and recovery. This cry for help placed a magnifying glass on the medical supply chain, and readers who weren’t already familiar with supply chain operations were likely searching for more information on the shortage of healthcare products.

In addition to the sudden focus on the healthcare supply chain, in the first week of April there was also a large amount of coverage surrounding potential food shortages from publications like CNN, Reuters, Bloomberg, and many more. If the public wasn’t paying attention to supply chains when they learned hospitals don’t have the necessary equipment to combat the virus, they definitely started paying attention when they couldn’t find their favorite foods at the grocery store.

As shown by the graph above, COVID-19’s effect on supply chains has grabbed the attention of not only vertical supply chain-focused publications such as Supply Chain Dive, DC Velocity, Logistics Management, and Supply & Demand Chain Executive; but also of general technology and business publications that don’t typically cover supply chain operations and technology, such as Forbes, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur and Reuters. In addition, the news has also permeated alternative industry vertical publications, such as MarTech Series (which focuses on marketing and sales technology); ZDNet and TechRepublic (which covers general business technology news); InformationWeek and AIThority (which typically report on data analysis and AI/ML technology).

Stay tuned for our next post, which will share some surprising insights – including how AI is coming to the forefront with supply chain media coverage.