5 min read
Image credit: Johnny Silvercloud
Unsurprisingly, the reopening of Ireland was the most important news story to people in May 2020. Aside from COVID-19 itself, the news about reopening is the highest ranked news story on Core’s Cultural Index, since tracking began in 2015.
Across nearly 1,000 stories analysed, the lockdown as a result of COVID-19 and the subsequent re-opening is one of the most significant news moments of our time.
However, another major global moment occurred in May when anti-racism demonstrations took place, after the horrific death of George Floyd. This month’s Cultural Index highlights how 94% of the Irish public were aware of US protests and rated these events as significantly important.
Closer to home, 86% of the public were aware of demonstrations that took place in Dublin and also rated this event as important.
These two anti-racism stories, both global and local, have resonated greatly with people living in Ireland. Across all Cultural Index stories analysed since 2015, these events sit within the top 3% of news stories in terms of significance to people. Specifically, young adults (those aged under 40 years old) believe the anti-racism movement is as important to them as other significant social issues such as same-sex marriage in 2015 and the repealing of the Eighth Amendment in 2018.
Given the high level of engagement from the next generation, the conversation about racism in Ireland will continue. The public acknowledge there is a need to reflect and change perceptions about racism in our society.
Results, Rockets and Reflection
Another key story in May’s Cultural Index was the cancellation of the Leaving Certificate, with students offered calculated grades or deferment as an alternative to sitting the examination. With plenty of news coverage, 90% of the public were aware of this announcement, while 69% found it personally important. This awareness rises to 95% in households with teenagers, and 76% of these households deeming this news important.
The launch of the SpaceX rocket also got the attention of the public, and 84% of the population were aware of this event. It was an event with one of the highest Google search volumes, as Irish public tuned in, and 62% people deemed it to be important.
As we stay at home, there have been many opportunities for us to reflect on our values and show our support to a number of worthy causes. Among them, Pieta’s Sunrise Appeal and the Late Late Show’s charity fundraising engaged the public. The majority of the population were aware of these events (63% and 57% respectively). These causes were deemed worthy of our attention as well, with four in five people considering these fundraisers important to them personally (82% and 80% respectively).
McDonald’s re-opening of Dublin drive-thru operations managed to capture the attention of everyone (89%). Just under half (49%) deemed this to be important, with many craving familiarity.
A Return to Recreation
May and early June saw the return of a number of sporting events; namely the German Bundesliga and Irish horse-racing. Despite the majority being aware of these announcements (62% aware of the Bundesliga and 67% aware of the return of horseracing), the planned return of the English Premier League was deemed more significant, despite lower awareness (60%).
While half of the population found the Bundesliga and horse racing’s return important (51% and 48% respectively), importance rose to 60% for the Premier League. Men were significantly more likely to be aware of the return of both the Bundesliga (76%) and the Premier League (74%).
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has also resulted in a number of entertainment events being cancelled. While 72% of the population were aware that Electric Picnic had been cancelled, just 45% were aware that Love Island’s 2020 Summer series has been called off.
While women were more likely to be aware of these stories (75% and 51% respectively), they were equally likely to report that these stories were not important at all (43% and 58%).
The Cultural Index measures the brand campaigns, news stories, debates and topics which occur every month in the country, surveying 1,000 people in the first week of every month.
We ask two key questions:
– How many people are aware of the news story?
– How important is the story in their life?
From these two scores, we produce the Cultural Index – a 100 point scale indicating how engaged people are with various stories which shape Irish culture.